The name, Perissodactyla, which means literally "odd-fingered ones," points out the major distinctive feature that unites the three very different living families. The horses (including zebras and asses), rhinoceroses, and tapirs all have a mesaxonic limb structure in which a large central digit carries the bulk of the weight of the animal, while smaller lateral digits may or may not be present. Hoofs are present on all exposed digits.

All living perissodactyls are herbivorous. Horses and some rhinos are grazing, while tapirs and rhinos are generally browsing, forest-dwelling mammals.

Indigenous equids are found today only in southern and eastern Africa and in the arid regions of southwestern and central Asia. Domesticated forms have been introduced to all parts of the world and feral populations exist in many areas. Rhinocerotids presently are found in central and eastern sub-Saharan Africa and in the Oriental Region from eastern India to Borneo (although now extinct or very rare and endangered). Tapirids presently are found in the tropical portions of the mainland Neotropical, on the Malayan Peninsula, and on Sumatra.

Family Equidae









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