Do you know how many mammals are there in the world? Most of you may know it already. But, did you also know that all mammals don’t give birth the same way? There’s a huge difference! So, let’s see how different are they when it comes to giving birth.
Let’s start by understanding what mammals are. Mammals are vertebrates that fall under the ‘Mammalia’ class. They possess a neocortex, three middle ear bones, and hair on their skin. There are around 5,416 various species of mammals. There are a lot of features that distinguish mammals from other animals. They are warm blood, body hair, breathing from lungs, and feeding their children with milk.
Animals such as elephants, chimpanzees, dolphins, and even humans, all belong to class – mammals. They have mammary glands and suckle their young.
However, all mammals are not the same! There are distinct differences in the ways mammals give birth.
Different Ways Mammals Give Birth:
The differences among mammals that give birth differently can be divided into three types – Placenta, Marsupial, and Monotreme birth.
Placental birth includes mammals such as human, cats/dogs, and even whales. Inside the womb, the embryo holds on to placenta for a long time until birth. The embryo absorbs all the nutrients and oxygen from its mother through the umbilical cord. Humans take nine months on average whereas whales can take up to 19 months.
The next is marsupial birth where mammals give birth to babies that are very small ( equal to the size of a jelly bean). For instance, kangaroos hold on to their mother’s body inside the pouch for 10-11 months even after birth. Such mammals are most common in Australia.
Monotreme refers to “one hole,” i.e., the single orifice (single orifice) for reproduction. Some mammals give birth by laying eggs and wait until they hatch. The shell of their eggs is very soft. From then, the young offsprings hatch and hold on to their mother’s body and suck milk from their mother’s pores. These mammals are called Monotremes. Eg. Platypuses and echidna.
Hence, all mammals may seem the same. However, many factors such as body hair, fur, and warm blood differentiate mammals from each other.
Let’s go through a small recap of everything discussed so far. Shall we?
- Mammals are vertebrates that fall under the ‘Mammalia’ class.
- There are around 5,416 various species of mammals.
- However, mammals give birth very differently.
- The different ways are the placenta, marsupial, and monotreme birth.