Temporal range: Palaeocene to Recent
Animals of the order Carnivora are carnivores, a term which applies to all flesh-eaters. If one needs to refer to members of the order, then carnivorans is used. Many species of Carnivora are actually omnivores, and a few of them, like the giant panda, eat mostly plants.
Mammalian carnivores have a particular arrangement of their back teeth. It is to slice the meat of their prey. As the photo shows, two of the back teeth work as meat slicers. If they change their way of life (various aquatic mammals) this feature gets changed or even lost (selected against).
- Order Carnivora
- Suborder Feliformia ("cat-like")
- Suborder Caniformia ("dog-like")
- Family Canidae: dogs, foxes, wolves, jackals, and coyotes
- Family Ursidae: bears
- Family Ailuridae: red pandas
- Family Mephitidae: skunks
- Family Mustelidae: martins, badgers, and minks
- Family Procyonidae: racoons
- Superfamily Pinnipedia : walruses, and seals
The Carnivores are linked with the Miacids and Viverravids in an unranked clade, the Carnivoramorpha:
The carnivores known as †Creodonts have some relation to these groups, but are placed outside the Carnivoramorpha. The †Mesonychids are another extinct group of early carnivores, which are also not in the Carnivoramorpha.
- Wang, Xiaoming; Tedford, Richard H. (2008). Dogs: their fossil relatives and evolutionary history. Columbia University Press, New York. p. 1. ISBN 978-0-231-13529-0. OCLC 502410693.