Aardvark classification

   One of the most notable things about the aardvark (Orycteropus afer) is the hardship zoologists have had in finding it a place in the scientific classification of animals. At first the aardvark was placed in the order Edentata along with the armadillos and sloths, simple because of its lack of front teeth (incisors and canines). Now the aardvark is placed by itself in the order Tubulidentata (the tube-toothed) so called because of the fine tubes radiating through each tooth. These teeth are in themselves very remarkable, for they have no roots or enamel.
   So the aardvark is out on an evolutionary limb, a species all on its own with no close living relatives. Or perhaps we should say rather that it is on an evolutionary dead stump, the last of its line.
   What is more, although fossil aardvark have been found —but very few of them— North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. they give us no real clue to the aardvark ancestry or its connections with other animals.
   The aardvark is sometimes colloquially called "antbear", "anteater", or the "Cape anteater" after the Cape of Good Hope.


Aardvark (Orycteropus afer)

aardvark mammal