MammalThe mammals are the class of vertebrate animals Mammals primarily characterized by the presence of mammary glands in the female which produce milk Scientific classification for the nourishment of young; the presence of Kingdom: Animalia hair or fur; and which have endothermic or "warm blooded" bodies. The brain regulates endothermic Phylum: Chordata and circulatory systems including a four chamber Class: Mammalia heart. Humans are mammals. Mammals embrace more than 5,000 genera, distributed in 425 families Orders and 46 orders. ╩Monotremata ╩Didelphimorphia Phylogenetically, the Mammalia are defined as the ╩Paucituberculata last common ancestor of monotremes (e.g. ╩Microbiotheria echidnas) and therian mammals (e.g. hedgehogs), ╩Dasyuromorphia and all of this last common ancestor's ╩Peramelemorphia descendants. ╩Notoryctemorphia ╩Diprotodontia While most mammals give birth to live young, ╩Afrosoricida there are a few mammals - the monotremes - that ╩Macroscelidea lay eggs. Live birth also occurs in a variety of ╩Tubulidentata non-mammalian species; thus it is not a ╩Hyracoidea diagnostic characteristic for class Mammalia. ╩Proboscidea Endothermy is also present in many non-mammals, ╩Sirenia primarily birds. While monotremes do not have ╩Xenarthra nipples, they do have mammary glands, meaning ╩Dermoptera: that they do meet all conditions for inclusion in ╩Scandentia the class Mammalia. It should be noted that the ╩Primates current trend in taxonomy is to emphasize common ╩Rodentia ancestry; the diagnostic characteristics are ╩Lagomorpha useful for identifying this ancestry, but if, for ╩Insectivora example, a cetacean were found that had no hair ╩Chiroptera at all, it would still be classed as a mammal. ╩Pholidota ╩Carnivora Mammals have three bones in each ear and one (the ╩Perissodactyla dentary) on each side of the lower jaw; all other ╩Artiodactyla vertebrates with ears have one bone (the stapes) ╩Cetacea in the ear and at least three on each side of the jaw. A group of therapsids called cynodonts had three bones in the jaw, but the main jaw joint was the dentary and the other bones conducted sound. Mammals belong among the amniotes, and in particular among a group called the synapsids, distinguished by the shape of their skulls. Within this group they developed from the therapsids, and more specifically the eucynodonts, 220 million years ago during the Triassic period. During the Mesozoic period they diversified into the three main groups found today, i.e. monotremes, marsupials, and placentals. They remained small and shrew-like throughout the era, but radiated rapidly after the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event 65 million years ago. The names "Prototheria", "Metatheria" and "Eutheria" expressed the theory that Placentalia were descendants of Marsupialia, which were in turn descendants of Monotremata, but this theory has been refuted. However, Eutheria and Metatheria are often used in paleontology, especially with regards to mammals of the Mesozoic. Most mammals are terrestrial, but a number are secondarily aquatic, including whales which are the largest of all animals. One order, the bats, have developed flight, and are among the only animals to have done so. The Classification of mammals (Class Mammalia) represented in the box at the right and in the listing below reflects George Gaylord Simpson's classic Principles of Classification and a Classification of Mammals (AMNH Bulletin v. 85, 1945). Simpson laid out a systematics of mammal origins and relationships that was universally taught until the end of the 20th Century. Since Simpson's 1945 classification, the paleontological record has been recalibrated, and the intervening years have seen much debate and progress concerning the theoretical underpinnings of systematization itself, partly through the new concept of cladistics (q.v.). Though field work gradually made Simpson's classification outdated, it remained the closest thing to an official classification of mammals. In 1997, the mammals were comprehensively revised by Malcolm C. McKenna and Susan K. Bell, which has resulted in the McKenna/Bell classification. McKenna and Bell, Classification of Mammals: Above the species level, (1997) is the most comprehensive work to date on the systematics, relationships, and occurrences of all mammal taxa, living and extinct, down through the rank of genus. The new McKenna/Bell classification was quickly accepted by paleontologists. The authors work together as paleontologists at the American Museum of Natural History, New York. McKenna inherited the project from Simpson and, with Bell, constructed a completely updated hierarchical system, covering living and extict taxa that reflects the historical genealogy of Mammalia. The McKenna/Bell hierarchical listing of all of the terms used for mammal groups above the species includes extinct mammals as well as modern groups, and introduces some fine distinctions such as legions and sublegions (categories which fall between classes and orders) that are likely to be glossed over by the layman.