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reptile

(Encyclopedia) reptile, name for the dry-skinned, usually scaly, cold-blooded vertebrates (see Chordata) of the order Reptilia. Reptiles are found in a variety of habitats throughout the warm and…

Ditmars, Raymond Lee

(Encyclopedia) Ditmars, Raymond Lee dĭt´märz, 1876–1942, American naturalist and author, b. Newark, N.J., grad. Barnard Military Academy, 1891. His early skill in preparing insect collections led to…

monotreme

(Encyclopedia) monotreme mŏn´ətrēm˝, name for members of the primitive mammalian order Monotremata, found in Australia, Tasmania, and New Guinea. The only members of this order are the platypus, or…

Mesozoic era

(Encyclopedia) Mesozoic era mĕz˝əzō´ĭk [Gr.,=middle life], major division of geologic time (see Geologic Timescale, table) from 65 to 225 million years ago. Great crustal disturbances that marked the…

amphibian

(Encyclopedia) amphibian, in zoology, cold-blooded vertebrate animal of the class Amphibia. There are three living orders of amphibians: the frogs and toads (order Anura, or Salientia), the…

Williston, Samuel Wendell

(Encyclopedia) Williston, Samuel Wendell, 1851–1918, American paleontologist and entomologist, b. Boston, grad. Kansas State Agricultural College (B.S., 1872) and Yale (M.D., 1880; Ph.D., 1885). He…

secretary bird

(Encyclopedia) secretary bird, common name for a long-legged African bird, Sagittarius serpentarius, related to the hawk and about 4 ft (122 cm) tall. Its crest of black feathers suggested the quill…

cloaca

(Encyclopedia) cloaca klōā´kə, in biology, enlarged posterior end of the digestive tract of some animals. The cloaca, from the Latin word for sewer, is a single chamber into which pass solid and…