Even-toed ungulate

Even-toed ungulates
Temporal range: 55.8–0 Ma Early EoceneHolocene
GiraffeAmerican bisonRed deerKiller whaleWild boarDromedaryThe Artiodactyla.jpg
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Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Magnorder: Boreoeutheria
Clade: Laurasiatheria
Clade: Scrotifera
Clade: Ferungulata
Clade: Ungulata
Order: Artiodactyla
Owen, 1848

The even-toed ungulates (Artiodactyla /ˌɑːrtiˈdæktɪlə/, from Ancient Greek ἄρτιος, ártios 'even', and δάκτυλος, dáktylos 'finger, toe') are ungulates—hoofed animals—which bear weight equally on two (an even number) of their five toes: the third and fourth. The other three toes are either present, absent, vestigial, or pointing posteriorly. By contrast, odd-toed ungulates bear weight on one (an odd number) of the five toes: the third toe. Another difference between the two is that even-toed ungulates digest plant cellulose in one or more stomach chambers rather than in their intestine as the odd-toed ungulates do.

The aquatic cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) evolved from even-toed ungulates, so modern taxonomic classification combines the two under the name Cetartiodactyla /sɪˌtɑːrtiˈdæktɪlə/.

The roughly 270 land-based even-toed ungulate species include pigs, peccaries, hippopotamuses, antelopes, mouse deer, deer, giraffes, camels, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, and cattle. Many of these are of great dietary, economic, and cultural importance to humans.