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Difference Between Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla

Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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Mammalian Classification: Characteristics of Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla

In order to understand Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla Difference, one must be aware of mammals and their classification. Then, one can explain Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla.

Classification of Mammals: Any vertebrate animal that belongs to the class Mammalia and whose young are fed milk produced by the mother's unique mammary glands is referred to be a mammal. Mammals are identified by a number of additional distinctive characteristics in addition to their distinctive milk glands.

A placental mammal can be classified in one of 17 orders. These mammals must then be divided into families, genera, and, eventually species. Mammals have historically been categorized based on structural and functional similarity. Mammalian classification is increasingly based on shared molecular characteristics.

Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla

There are several complex interactions between Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla. They are included together in the Euungulata clade in certain phylogenies. The Perissodactyla are related to Carnivora in a lineage that is distinct from the Artiodactyla in other instances, indicating a more distant connection between the two groups.

What is Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla?

Perissodactyla: Perissodactyla is one of the two subgroups of ungulates, or toe-to-toe walking animals. Most ungulates have hooves instead of claws on their feet, with the exception of Perissodactyls. The ungulates with odd toes are called perissodactyls because they have fewer toes. As an example, horses have a lifespan from five to one, and rhinoceroses have a lifespan of three.

Examples of Perissodactyla

Tapir, Indian, and Javan rhinos, horses, asses, and zebras are represented under the genus.

Artiodactyla: The Artiodactyla, or even-toed ungulates, have either two or four toes, as seen in animals like cattle, sheep, and deer, as well as hippopotamuses, camels, and pigs. The ungulates are exclusively terrestrial and use their tongues to gather food. This is due to the fact that their foot anatomy, which is primarily developed for locomotion purposes, prohibits them from climbing or grabbing.

Examples of Artiodactyla

Bos (cattle, yak), Bison (buffalo), Capra (goat), Ovis (sheep), Giraffa (giraffe), Gazella (gazelles), Rangifer (reindeer), Dama (fallow deer), Sus (pig), Hippopotamus (hippo), Ceruus (red deer), Moschus (musk deer), Camelus (dromedary camel — Asia).

Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla Difference







They include odd-toed ungulates.

They include even-toed ungulates.



Horn is mostly absent. 

Usually present and may be solid or hollow; it is located on the frontal bone.


Dorsolumbar Vertebrae

22 or more.

19 in number.


Support Axis

Lies across the third digit.

Includes the third and fourth digits. The digits 1, 2, and 5 are either missing or diminished.



Shows the presence of a third trochanter.

The third trochanter is absent.


Odontoid Process





Rhinocores, Horse, Donkey.

Cattle, Sheep, Deer.


The Perissodactyla is made up of three families of living mammals: horses (six species), tapirs (four species), and rhinoceroses (five species). The bulk of perissodactyls, including rhinoceroses, tapirs, and two of the three zebra species, are endangered. Perissodactyls are substantially rarer than artiodactyls. Understanding the progression of horses from the smallest "dawn horse" (Hyracotherium, previously Eohippus) to the present form has assisted evolutionary theory. This article aims to explain Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla. 

FAQs on Difference Between Perissodactyla and Artiodactyla

1. What are the characteristics of Perissodactyla?

These are big, sleek herbivorous animals. The neck and areas of the face are lengthened. Long hair tufts cover the tail. The strong limbs are appropriate for swift movement. The top segments shrunk while the lower parts of the limbs elongated. The capitate (magnum), one distal carpal, enlarges and becomes entangled with the proximal carpals. The first and fifth of the five numbers are missing. The fourth and second digits are still in splints. The third or middle digit is thick and equipped with a hoof.

2. What are the characteristics of Artiodactyla?

They are recent mammalian herbivores and even-toed ungulates. The tail is little, but the neck is long. Typically have two epidermal horns on their skin. The skull's frontal bone is where horns, which can be solid or hollow, are found. The limbs' distinguishing feature is the diminution of the remaining digits, with the third and fourth developing equally. Digitigrade-type gait is present. On the toes, hoofs have formed. To create the cannon bone, the lengthy metapodials come together.

3. What is perissodactyla and Artiodactyla?

Sheep, goats, and camels (and their cousins) are members of the order Artiodactyla, or even-toed ungulates, which have cloven hooves that are split down the middle like those of a cow. Horses and zebras are examples of Perissodactyla (single-hoofed ungulates), while tapirs have an odd number of toes with the middle toe, which resembles a hoof being the largest. There are more characteristics as well, such as the Perissodactyla lacking the ruminant gut of a cow. Additionally, observe that horses have upper incisors but cows do not.