is the smallest living order of mammals. It contains a single
living species, the Aardvark (Orycteropus afer). The ordinal name,
Tubulidentata, refers to the unique structure of the teeth (numerous
hexagonal prisms of dentine surrounding tubular pulp cavities).
The common name, Aardvark, is an Afrikaner term meaning "earth
hog", since these animals are somewhat piglike in appearance.
The digits terminate in structures that are intermediate between
claws and hoofs. These are adapted for burrowing and tearing open
termite mounds. Aardvarks have long extensible tongues. They feed
upon termites and other insects, but they also feed on plant materials.
The limbs are plantigrade with four manual and five pedal digits.
The skin is thick with sparse bristlelike hairs. The aardvark
is now considered to be the most primitive living protoungulate.
It is probably more closely related to elephants, hyraxes and
sirenians, than with any other living order of mammal.
collections do not contain specimens from Tubulidentata.