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A Manual of the Mammalia

An Homage to Lawlor’s “Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals”

The taxonomy of recent mammals has lately undergone tremendous revision, but it has been decades since the last update to Timothy E. Lawlor’s acclaimed identification guide the Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals. Integrating the latest advances in research, Douglas A. Kelt and James L. Patton provide this long-overdue update in their new, wholly original work, A Manual of the Mammalia.

Complemented by global range maps, high-resolution photographs of skulls and mandibles by Bill Stone, and the outstanding artwork of Fiona Reid, this book provides an overview of biological attributes of each higher taxon while highlighting key and diagnostic characters needed to identify skulls and skins of all recent mammalian orders and most families. Kelt and Patton also place taxa in their currently understood supra-familial clades, and discuss current challenges in higher mammal taxonomy. Including a comprehensive review of mammalian anatomy to provide a foundation for understanding all characters employed throughout, A Manual of the Mammalia is both a user-friendly handbook for students learning to identify higher mammal taxa and a uniquely comprehensive, up-to-date reference for mammalogists and mammal-lovers from across the globe.

544 pages | 513 halftones, 33 line drawings | 8 1/2 x 11 | © 2020

Biological Sciences: Anatomy, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Morphology


"The subtitle of this comprehensive, lavishly illustrated reference book terms it 'an homage' to Timothy Lawlor’s acclaimed Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals, which was published in 1979, revised, but out of date following Lawlor’s death in 2011. As wildlife ecologist Kelt and mammal curator Patton note, Lawlor’s final edition featured about 4,170 species of mammal; today’s figure is 6,495. 'Do not be overwhelmed,' they advise students, 'simply revel in the diversity that is the Mammalia.'"


"The class Mammalia includes twenty-seven extant orders and 167 families, each characterized by diagnostic features. All these groups and features are covered in Lawlor’s 1979 Handbook to the Orders and Families of Living Mammals, a widely used laboratory manual that is now several years out of date from a taxonomic perspective. This new volume, written by Kelt and Patton, is modeled after and represents the successor to Lawlor’s classic book. The manual is not a key and instead focuses on the diagnostic characters of twenty-eight orders and 140 families. The higher-level taxonomy has been updated by recognizing the major supraordinal groupings. . . . The volume also covers mammalian anatomy, including the skull, the skeleton, teeth, and soft tissue. The figures include range maps, phylogenies, drawings of animals, and black-and-white photos of skulls, many of which illustrate diagnostic traits. . . . The book is a success overall. This reviewer will certainly use it as a lab manual the next time he teaches mammalogy. Recommended."


“An outstanding contribution to our efforts to teach students and professionals the wealth of recent literature that is recasting our understanding of the world’s mammals. I applaud Kelt and Patton for keeping Lawlor’s name associated with this massive revision. It isn’t so much ‘Lawlor’s . . .’ anymore, but it is very generous of these authors to recognize his initial efforts and contributions in teaching a next generation of mammalogists. The glossary and illustrations are excellent and most helpful. This book will be the standard for years to come.”

Robert M. Timm, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, University of Kansas, and past president, American Society of Mammalogists

“Kelt and Patton have greatly expanded Lawlor’s work with new taxonomic and systematic organization, many more and better illustrations, and a more extensive bibliography. This new rendition is much improved. There is hardly a better manual for comparing old and new taxonomic and phylogenetic constructs for the Class Mammalia. Relations of groups of mammals, and Mammaliaformes, are clearly presented. Characteristics of each order and family are clearly and succinctly listed. Drawings and photos are first rate and clearly illustrate the desired points for each character/group. This book will have a place on the bookshelf of every mammalogist worldwide.”

Michael A. Mares, director, curator, and professor emeritus, Sam Noble Museum, University of Oklahoma, and past president, American Society of Mammalogists

"Kelt and Patton take mammalogy from a 1990’s flip phone  to  iPhone  13.   A Manual of the Mammalia is entirely on a  higher  plane."

Journal of Mammalogy

Table of Contents

Organization of This Manual
Basics of Mammalian Anatomy
Cranial and Postcranial Anatomy
The Mammalian Skull
Postcranial Skeleton
The Integument
Mammalian Hair
Foot Posture and Foot Pads
Dental Formulae
Tooth Morphology
Types of Molar Occlusal Patterns
Specialized Molar Cusps
Crown Height and Root Development
Incisor Procumbency

Classification of Living Mammals
Class Mammalia
Subclass Prototheria
Order Monotremata
Subclass Theria
Infraclass Metatheria (= Marsupialia)
Order Didelphimorphia
Order Paucituberculata
Order Microbiotheria
Order Notoryctemorphia
Order Dasyuromorphia
Order Peramelemorphia (= Peramelina)
Order Diprotodontia
Suborder Vombatiformes
Suborder Phalangeriformes
Suborder Macropodiformes
Infraclass Eutheria or Placentalia
Clade Atlantogenata
Clade Xenarthra
Order Cingulata
Order Pilosa
Suborder Folivora
Suborder Vermilingua
Clade Afrotheria
Clade Afroinsectiphilia
Order Tubulidentata
Clade Afroinsectivora
Order Macroscelidea
Order Tenrecoidea
Suborder Chrysochloridea
Suborder Tenrecomorpha
Clade Paenungulata (= Subungulata)
Order Hyracoidea
Clade Tethytheria
Order Proboscidea
Order Sirenia
Clade Boreoeutheria
Clade Euarchontoglires
Clade Glires
Order Lagomorpha
Order Rodentia
Suborder Sciuromorpha
Suborder Castorimorpha
Suborder Myomorpha (= Myodonta)
Suborder Anomaluromorpha
Suborder Hystricomorpha (= Ctenohystrica)
      Infraorder Ctenodactylomorphi
      Infraorder Hystricognathi
Clade Euarchonta
Order Primates
Suborder Strepsirrhini
      Infraorder Lemuriformes
      Infraorder Chiromyiformes
      Infraorder Lorisiformes
Suborder Haplorrhini
      Infraorder Tarsiiformes
      Infraorder Simiiformes (= Anthropoidea)
Clade Sundatheria
Order Dermoptera
Order Scandentia
Clade Laurasiatheria
Clade Lipotyphla (= Eulipotyphla)
Order Erinaceomorpha
Order Soricomorpha
Clade Scrotifera
Order Chiroptera
Clade Yinpterochiroptera (= Pteropodiformes)
Clade Yangochiroptera (= Vespertilioniformes)
Clade Ferae
Order Pholidota
Order Carnivora
Suborder Feliformia
Suborder Caniformia
Clade Euungulata
Order Perissodactyla
Superorder Cetartiodactyla
Order Artiodactyla
Suborder Suina
Suborder Whippomorpha
      Infraorder Ancodonta
Suborder Tylopoda
Suborder Ruminantia
      Infraorder Tragulina
      Infraorder Pecora
Clade Cetacea (= Cete)
Subclade Mysticeti
Subclade Odontoceti

Literature Cited
Index to Taxonomic Names above the Genus Level

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