Non-Placental Mammals: Definitions, Characteristics & Examples

Instructor: Ebony Potts

Ebony has taught middle and high school physical science, life science & biology. She's also been an assistant principal and has a doctorate in educational administration.

Non-placental mammals are specialized mammals that share specific characteristics. In this lesson, you will learn what some of these characteristics are and what distinguishes non-placental mammals from other mammals.

Intro to Non-Placental Mammals

A kingdom is a classification level that includes may different types of organisms. For instance, snakes, bears, and insects are all in the same kingdom! All living things are classified into six kingdoms. Mammals are included in Kingdom Animalia, which itself includes a number of different classifications. In this lesson, you will learn about the two categories of non-placental mammals, the marsupials and the monotremes.

What are Mammals?

Mammals share four main characteristics. An important characteristic of mammals is that they are warm-blooded. The body temperature of a warm-blooded animal can be kept higher than the surrounding environment. Another characteristic that mammals have in common is that they are vertebrates, which means they have a backbone. Mammals also all have hair or fur and they produce milk to feed their young.

Let's talk about three different types of mammals: eutherians, marsupials, and monotremes. Eutheria are mammals that are attached to a placenta early on during their development. Eutheria are placental mammals. The focus of this lesson, however, is non-placental mammals, which are the other two categories of mammals, marsupials and monotremes. Non-placental mammals are not attached to the mother via a placenta.

Non-Placental Mammals

Duck-billed Platypus
platypus

Marsupials are mammals that carry their young in a pouch early on during their development. The young of marsupials are born very undeveloped. Once a marsupial is born, it locates its mother's nipple and stays in her pouch until it is more developed. Examples of marsupials are opossums, koalas and kangaroos.

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