May 20, 2022

Carnivores are an order of placental mammals, whose representatives are mostly predators feeding on the meat of other vertebrates. Although carnivores are adapted to hunting and eating meat, their diet is often more varied and few species are strict carnivores. Some species even feed on herbivores. Carnivores, which obtain meat through active hunting, use a variety of hunting strategies and, depending on the species, kill a wide variety of animals. Predatory beasts contribute to the dynamic balance of ecosystems, help reduce prey (both ungulates and rodents) and keep prey populations healthier. The order includes more than 270 living species, which fall into 16 families. The order of carnivores has traditionally been divided into two sub-orders: terrestrial carnivores (Fissipedia) and pinnipeds (Pinnipedia). However, this system proved to be unnatural, so that modern systematics rather recognizes the division of carnivores into suborder Feliformia and Caniformia; In this case, pinnipeds are classified as canine. Within the broader system, the order of beasts falls into the broader clade of Carnivoramorph, which includes the oldest known ancestors of the crown group of beasts - viverravids and miacids. These two groups spread on the continents of the Northern Hemisphere about 60-50 million years ago, ie during the Paleocene and Eocene, and disappeared in the Upper Eocene about 37-34 million years ago. At the end of the Eocene, the first remnants of modern carnivores begin to appear in fossil records. Carnivores are probably the most diverse order among mammals. Their smallest representative, the weasel (Mustela nivalis), weighs about 50 g, while the elephant seal (Mirounga leonina) weighs up to 5,000 kg. The beast's skull is characterized by a well-developed rounded cerebellum and ossified tympanic bulges that surround the auditory ossicles of the middle ear. The jaws and teeth tend to be adapted to killing and eating meat. The lower jaw moves only in the vertical plane, the canines are adapted to kill the prey. A typical feature of the beast is the blockbuster complex, which consists of a modified last mandibular tooth of the upper jaw and the first chair of the lower jaw. He, like scissors, helps to cut pieces of meat from dead animals. All recent finfish have lost their blockbusters. The postcranial skeleton of the beast is rather generalized, although some common features can be observed here, such as the fusion of some wrist bones, separated forearm and shin bones, and missing or only residual collarbone. The movement is finger or flat, the limbs are equipped with claws, in some groups retractable. Significant anatomical changes can be observed in pinnipeds, adapted to life in water. The senses of the beast are very well developed. The beasts have inhabited almost the entire world and are adapted to virtually all habitats. Various forms of social structure can be observed in them. Most species live alone, but some may form social groups. The reproductive system is mostly polygynous, where males mate with a larger number of females, monogamy is much rarer. Terrestrial cubs are born blind and sparse, but some pinnipeds produce highly precocial (developed) cubs. Communication skills in beasts are well developed, and communication based on olfactory stimuli (urine, feces, aromatic secretions) is common. In human culture, beasts have a dual role. On the one hand, they appear as esteemed animals, sometimes deities, a dog or a cat have been domesticated; on the other hand, there are human competitors. The beasts have been and are being persecuted because they tend to kill people bred