Squirrels are members of the family Sciuridae, a family that includes small or medium-size rodents. The squirrel family includes tree squirrels, ground squirrels, marmots, flying squirrels, prairie dogs amongst other rodents. Squirrels are indigenous to the Americas and Africa, were introduced by humans to Australia; the earliest known squirrels date from the Eocene period and are most related to the mountain beaver and to the dormouse among other living rodent families. The word "squirrel", first attested in 1327, comes from the Anglo-Norman esquirel, from the Old French escurel, the reflex of a Latin word sciurus; this Latin word was borrowed from the Ancient Greek word σκίουρος, which means shadow-tailed, referring to the bushy appendage possessed by many of its members. The native Old English word for the squirrel, ācweorna, survived only into Middle English before being replaced; the Old English word is of Common Germanic origin, cognates of which are still used in other Germanic languages, including the German Eichhörnchen, the Norwegian ikorn/ekorn, the Dutch eekhoorn, the Swedish ekorre and the Danish egern.
Squirrels are small animals, ranging in size from the African pygmy squirrel at 7–10 cm in length and just 10 g in weight, to the Laotian giant flying squirrel at 1.08 m in length and the Alpine marmot, which weighs from 5 to 8 kg. Squirrels have slender bodies with bushy tails and large eyes. In general, their fur is silky, though much thicker in some species than others; the coat color of squirrels is variable between—and even within—species. In most squirrel species, the hind limbs are longer than the fore limbs, while all species have either four or five toes on each paw; the paws, which include an poorly developed thumb, have soft pads on the undersides and versatile, sturdy claws for grasping and climbing. Tree squirrels, unlike most mammals, can descend a tree head-first, they do so by rotating their ankles 180 degrees, enabling the hind paws to point backward and thus grip the tree bark from the opposite direction. Squirrels live in every habitat, from tropical rainforest to semiarid desert, avoiding only the high polar regions and the driest of deserts.
They are predominantly herbivorous, subsisting on seeds and nuts, but many will eat insects and small vertebrates. As their large eyes indicate, squirrels have an excellent sense of vision, important for the tree-dwelling species. Many have a good sense of touch, with vibrissae on their limbs as well as their heads; the teeth of sciurids follow the typical rodent pattern, with large incisors that grow throughout life, cheek teeth that are set back behind a wide gap, or diastema. The typical dental formula for sciurids is 126.96.36.199.0.1.3. Many juvenile squirrels die in the first year of life. Adult squirrels can have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years in the wild; some can survive 10 to 20 years in captivity. Premature death may be caused when a nest falls from the tree, in which case the mother may abandon her young if their body temperature is not correct. Many such baby squirrels have been rescued and fostered by a professional wildlife rehabilitator until they could be safely returned to the wild, although the density of squirrel populations in many places and the constant care required by premature squirrels means that few rehabilitators are willing to spend their time doing this and such animals are euthanized instead.
Squirrels mate either once or twice a year and, following a gestation period of three to six weeks, give birth to a number of offspring that varies by species. The young are altricial, being born naked and blind. In most species of squirrel, the female alone looks after the young, which are weaned at six to ten weeks and become sexually mature by the end of their first year. In general, the ground-dwelling squirrel species are social living in well-developed colonies, while the tree-dwelling species are more solitary. Ground squirrels and tree squirrels are either diurnal or crepuscular, while the flying squirrels tend to be nocturnal—except for lactating flying squirrels and their young, which have a period of diurnality during the summer; because squirrels cannot digest cellulose, they must rely on foods rich in protein and fats. In temperate regions, early spring is the hardest time of year for squirrels because the nuts they buried are beginning to sprout, while many of the usual food sources have not yet become available.
During these times, squirrels rely on the buds of trees. Squirrels, being herbivores, eat a wide variety of plants, as well as nuts, conifer cones, fruits and green vegetation; some squirrels, however consume meat when faced with hunger. Squirrels have been known to eat small birds, young snakes, smaller rodents, as well as bird eggs and insects. Indeed, some tropical squirrel species have shifted entirely to a diet of insects. Predatory behavior has been observed in various species of ground squirrels, in particular the thirteen-lined ground squirrel. For example, Bailey, a scientist in the 1920s, observed a thirteen-lined ground squirrel preying upon a young chicken. Wistrand reported seeing this same species eating a freshly killed snake. Whitaker examined the stomachs of 139 thirteen-lined ground squirrels and found bird flesh in four of the specimens and the remains of a short-tailed shrew in one.
Rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia, which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are rodents, they are the most diversified mammalian order and live in a variety of terrestrial habitats, including human-made environments. Species can be fossorial, or semiaquatic. Well-known rodents include mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, chinchillas, beavers, guinea pigs, hamsters and capybaras. Other animals such as rabbits and pikas, whose incisors grow continually, were once included with them, but are now considered to be in a separate order, the Lagomorpha. Nonetheless and Lagomorpha are sister groups, sharing a most recent common ancestor and forming the clade of Glires. Most rodents are small animals with robust bodies, short limbs, long tails, they use their sharp incisors to gnaw food, excavate burrows, defend themselves. Most eat seeds or other plant material, they tend to be social animals and many species live in societies with complex ways of communicating with each other.
Mating among rodents can vary from monogamy, to polygyny, to promiscuity. Many have litters of altricial young, while others are precocial at birth; the rodent fossil record dates back to the Paleocene on the supercontinent of Laurasia. Rodents diversified in the Eocene, as they spread across continents, sometimes crossing oceans. Rodents reached both South America and Madagascar from Africa and were the only terrestrial placental mammals to reach and colonize Australia. Rodents have been used as food, for clothing, as pets, as laboratory animals in research; some species, in particular, the brown rat, the black rat, the house mouse, are serious pests and spoiling food stored by humans and spreading diseases. Accidentally introduced species of rodents are considered to be invasive and have caused the extinction of numerous species, such as island birds isolated from land-based predators; the distinguishing feature of the rodents is their pairs of continuously growing, razor-sharp, open-rooted incisors.
These incisors little enamel on the back. Because they do not stop growing, the animal must continue to wear them down so that they do not reach and pierce the skull; as the incisors grind against each other, the softer dentine on the rear of the teeth wears away, leaving the sharp enamel edge shaped like the blade of a chisel. Most species have up to 22 teeth with no canines or anterior premolars. A gap, or diastema, occurs between the cheek teeth in most species; this allows rodents to suck in their cheeks or lips to shield their mouth and throat from wood shavings and other inedible material, discarding this waste from the sides of their mouths. Chinchillas and guinea pigs have a high-fiber diet. In many species, the molars are large, intricately structured, cusped or ridged. Rodent molars are well equipped to grind food into small particles; the jaw musculature is strong. The lower jaw is pulled backwards during chewing. Rodent groups differ in the arrangement of the jaw muscles and associated skull structures, both from other mammals and amongst themselves.
The Sciuromorpha, such as the eastern grey squirrel, have a large deep masseter, making them efficient at biting with the incisors. The Myomorpha, such as the brown rat, have enlarged temporalis muscles, making them able to chew powerfully with their molars; the Hystricomorpha, such as the guinea pig, have larger superficial masseter muscles and smaller deep masseter muscles than rats or squirrels making them less efficient at biting with the incisors, but their enlarged internal pterygoid muscles may allow them to move the jaw further sideways when chewing. The cheek pouch is a specific morphological feature used for storing food and is evident in particular subgroups of rodents like kangaroo rats, hamsters and gophers which have two bags that may range from the mouth to the front of the shoulders. True mice and rats do not contain this structure but their cheeks are elastic due to a high degree of musculature and innervation in the region. While the largest species, the capybara, can weigh as much as 66 kg, most rodents weigh less than 100 g.
The smallest rodent is the Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, which averages only 4.4 cm in head and body length, with adult females weighing only 3.75 g. Rodents have wide-ranging morphologies, but have squat bodies and short limbs; the fore limbs have five digits, including an opposable thumb, while the hind limbs have three to five digits. The elbow gives the forearms great flexibility; the majority of species are plantigrade, walking on both the palms and soles of their feet, have claw-like nails. The nails of burrowing species tend to be long and strong, while arboreal rodents have shorter, sharper nails. Rodent species use a wide variety of methods of locomotion including quadrupedal walking, burrowing, bipedal hopping and gliding. Scaly-tailed squirrels and flying squirrels, although not related, can both glide from tree to tree using parachute-like membranes that stretch from the fore to the hind limbs; the agouti is antelope-like, being digitigrade and having hoof-like nails. The majority of rodents have tails, which can be of many shapes and siz
Reptiles are tetrapod animals in the class Reptilia, comprising today's turtles, snakes, lizards and their extinct relatives. The study of these traditional reptile orders combined with that of modern amphibians, is called herpetology; because some reptiles are more related to birds than they are to other reptiles, the traditional groups of "reptiles" listed above do not together constitute a monophyletic grouping or clade. For this reason, many modern scientists prefer to consider the birds part of Reptilia as well, thereby making Reptilia a monophyletic class, including all living Diapsids; the earliest known proto-reptiles originated around 312 million years ago during the Carboniferous period, having evolved from advanced reptiliomorph tetrapods that became adapted to life on dry land. Some early examples include Casineria. In addition to the living reptiles, there are many diverse groups that are now extinct, in some cases due to mass extinction events. In particular, the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event wiped out the pterosaurs, plesiosaurs and sauropods, as well as many species of theropods, including troodontids, dromaeosaurids and abelisaurids, along with many Crocodyliformes, squamates.
Modern non-avian reptiles inhabit all the continents except Antarctica, although some birds are found on the periphery of Antarctica. Several living subgroups are recognized: Testudines, 350 species. Reptiles are tetrapod vertebrates, creatures that either have four limbs or, like snakes, are descended from four-limbed ancestors. Unlike amphibians, reptiles do not have an aquatic larval stage. Most reptiles are oviparous, although several species of squamates are viviparous, as were some extinct aquatic clades – the fetus develops within the mother, contained in a placenta rather than an eggshell; as amniotes, reptile eggs are surrounded by membranes for protection and transport, which adapt them to reproduction on dry land. Many of the viviparous species feed their fetuses through various forms of placenta analogous to those of mammals, with some providing initial care for their hatchlings. Extant reptiles range in size from a tiny gecko, Sphaerodactylus ariasae, which can grow up to 17 mm to the saltwater crocodile, Crocodylus porosus, which can reach 6 m in length and weigh over 1,000 kg.
In the 13th century the category of reptile was recognized in Europe as consisting of a miscellany of egg-laying creatures, including "snakes, various fantastic monsters, assorted amphibians, worms", as recorded by Vincent of Beauvais in his Mirror of Nature. In the 18th century, the reptiles were, from the outset of classification, grouped with the amphibians. Linnaeus, working from species-poor Sweden, where the common adder and grass snake are found hunting in water, included all reptiles and amphibians in class "III – Amphibia" in his Systema Naturæ; the terms "reptile" and "amphibian" were interchangeable, "reptile" being preferred by the French. Josephus Nicolaus Laurenti was the first to formally use the term "Reptilia" for an expanded selection of reptiles and amphibians similar to that of Linnaeus. Today, the two groups are still treated under the same heading as herptiles, it was not until the beginning of the 19th century that it became clear that reptiles and amphibians are, in fact, quite different animals, Pierre André Latreille erected the class Batracia for the latter, dividing the tetrapods into the four familiar classes of reptiles, amphibians and mammals.
The British anatomist Thomas Henry Huxley made Latreille's definition popular and, together with Richard Owen, expanded Reptilia to include the various fossil "antediluvian monsters", including dinosaurs and the mammal-like Dicynodon he helped describe. This was not the only possible classification scheme: In the Hunterian lectures delivered at the Royal College of Surgeons in 1863, Huxley grouped the vertebrates into mammals and ichthyoids, he subsequently proposed the names of Ichthyopsida for the latter two groups. In 1866, Haeckel demonstrated that vertebrates could be divided based on their reproductive strategies, that reptiles and mammals were united by the amniotic egg; the terms "Sauropsida" and "Theropsida" were used again in 1916 by E. S. Goodrich to distinguish between lizards and their relatives on the one hand and mammals and their extinct relatives on the other. Goodrich supported this division by the nature of the hearts and blood vessels in each group, other features, such as the structure of the forebrain.
According to Goodrich, both lineages evolved from an earlier stem group, Protosauria in which he included some animals today considered reptile-like amphibians, as well as early reptiles. In 1956, D. M. S. Watson observed that the first two groups diverged early in reptilian history, so he divided Goodrich's Protosauria between them, he reinterpreted Sauropsida and Theropsida to exclude birds and mammals, respectively. Thus his Sauropsida included Procolophonia, Millerosauria, Squamata, Rhynchocephalia
The Black Hills are a small and isolated mountain range rising from the Great Plains of North America in western South Dakota and extending into Wyoming, United States. Black Elk Peak, which rises to 7,244 feet, is the range's highest summit; the Black Hills encompass the Black Hills National Forest. The name "Black Hills" is a translation of the Lakota Pahá Sápa; the hills were so-called because of their dark appearance from a distance, as they were covered in trees. Native Americans have a long history in the Black Hills. After conquering the Cheyenne in 1776, the Lakota took over the territory of the Black Hills, which became central to their culture. In 1868, the U. S. government signed the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, establishing the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River, exempting the Black Hills from all white settlement forever. However, when settlers discovered gold there in 1874, as a result of George Armstrong Custer's Black Hills Expedition, miners swept into the area in a gold rush.
The US government took back the Black Hills and in 1889 reassigned the Lakota, against their wishes, to five smaller reservations in western South Dakota, selling off 9 million acres of their former land. Unlike most of South Dakota, the Black Hills were settled by European Americans from population centers to the west and south of the region, as miners flocked there from earlier gold boom locations in Colorado and Montana; as the economy of the Black Hills has shifted from natural resources since the late 20th century, the hospitality and tourism industries have grown to take its place. Locals tend to divide the Black Hills into two areas: "The Southern Hills" and "The Northern Hills"; the Southern Hills is home to Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, Jewel Cave National Monument, Black Elk Peak, Custer State Park, the Crazy Horse Memorial, the Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, the world's largest mammoth research facility. Attractions in the Northern Hills include Spearfish Canyon, historic Deadwood, the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, held each August.
The first Rally was held on August 14, 1938 and the 75th Rally in 2015 saw more than 1 million bikers visit the Black Hills. Devils Tower National Monument, located in the Wyoming Black Hills, is an important nearby attraction and was the United States' first national monument. Although written history of the region begins with the Sioux domination of the land over the native Arikara tribes, researchers have carbon-dating and stratigraphic records to analyze the early history of the area. Scientists have been able to utilize carbon-dating to evaluate the age of tools found in the area, which indicate a human presence that dates as far back as 11,500 BC with the Clovis culture. Stratigraphic records indicate environmental changes in the land, such as flood and drought patterns. For example, large-scale flooding of the Black Hill basins occurs at a probability rate of 0.01, making such floods occur once in every 100 years. However, during The Medieval Climate Anomaly, or the Medieval Warm Period, flooding increased in the basins.
A stratigraphic record of the area shows that during this 400-year period, thirteen 100-year floods occurred in four of the region's basins, while the same four basins from the previous 800 years only experienced nine floods. The Arikara arrived by AD 1500, followed by the Cheyenne, Crow and Pawnee; the Lakota arrived from Minnesota in the 18th century and drove out the other tribes, who moved west. They claimed the land; the mountains became known as the Black Hills. François and Louis de La Vérendrye travelled near the Black Hills in 1743. Fur trappers and traders had some dealings with the Native Americans. European Americans encroached on Lakota territory. After defeating the Lakota Sioux, the United States government made peace under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, establishing the Great Sioux Reservation west of the Missouri River and acknowledging their control of the Teton range. In this treaty, they protected the Black Hills "forever" from European-American settlement. Both the Sioux and Cheyenne claimed rights to the land, saying that in their cultures, it was considered the axis mundi, or sacred center of the world.
Although rumors of gold in the Black Hills had circulated for decades, it was not until 1874 that Brevet Major General George Armstrong Custer of the 7th US Cavalry led an expedition there and discovered gold in French Creek. An official announcement of gold was made by the newspaper reporters accompanying the expedition; the following year, the Newton-Jenney Party conducted the first detailed survey of the Black Hills. The surveyor for the party, Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy, was the first European American to ascend to the top of Black Elk Peak; this highest point in the Black Hills is 7,242 feet above sea level. During the 1875–1878 gold rush, thousands of miners went to the Black Hills. Three large towns developed in the Northern Hills: Deadwood, Central City, Lead. Around these were groups of smaller gold camps and villages. Hill City and Custer City sprang up in the Southern Hills. Railroads were constructed to the remote area. From 1880 on, the gold mines yielded about $4,000,000 annually, the silver mines about $3,000,000 annually.
The conflict over control of the region sparked the Black Hills War known as the Great Sioux
A mouse, plural mice, is a small rodent characteristically having a pointed snout, small rounded ears, a body-length scaly tail and a high breeding rate. The best known mouse species is the common house mouse, it is a popular pet. In some places, certain kinds of field mice are locally common, they are known to invade homes for shelter. Species of mice are found in Rodentia, are present throughout the order. Typical mice are found in the genus Mus. Mice are distinguished from rats by their size; when someone discovers a smaller muroid rodent, its common name includes the term mouse, while if it is larger, the name includes the term rat. Common terms rat and mouse are not taxonomically specific. Scientifically, the term mouse is not confined to members of Mus for the deer mouse. Domestic mice sold as pets differ in size from the common house mouse; this is attributable both to different conditions in the wild. The best-known strain, the white lab mouse, has more uniform traits that are appropriate to its use in research.
Cats, wild dogs, birds of prey and certain kinds of arthropods have been known to prey upon mice. Because of its remarkable adaptability to any environment, the mouse is one of the most successful mammalian genera living on Earth today. Mice, in certain contexts, can be considered vermin which are a major source of crop damage, causing structural damage and spreading diseases through their parasites and feces. In North America, breathing dust that has come in contact with mouse excrement has been linked to hantavirus, which may lead to hantavirus pulmonary syndrome. Nocturnal animals, mice compensate for their poor eyesight with a keen sense of hearing, rely on their sense of smell to locate food and avoid predators. Mice build long intricate burrows in the wild; these have long entrances and are equipped with escape tunnels or routes. In at least one species, the architectural design of a burrow is a genetic trait. Order Dasyuromorphia marsupial mice, smaller species of Dasyuridae order Rodentia suborder Castorimorpha family Heteromyidae Kangaroo mouse, genus Microdipodops Pocket mouse, tribe Perognathinae Spiny pocket mouse, genus Heteromys suborder Anomaluromorpha family Anomaluridae flying mouse suborder Myomorpha family Cricetidae Brush mouse, Peromyscus boylii Florida mouse Golden mouse American Harvest mouse, genus Reithrodontomys family Muridae typical mice, the genus Mus Field mice, genus Apodemus Wood mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus Yellow-necked mouse, Apodemus flavicollis Large Mindoro forest mouse Big-eared hopping mouse Luzon montane forest mouse Forrest's mouse Pebble-mound mouse Bolam's mouse Eurasian Harvest mouse, genus Micromys Mice are common experimental animals in laboratory research of biology and psychology fields because they are mammals, because they share a high degree of homology with humans.
They are the most used mammalian model organism, more common than rats. The mouse genome has been sequenced, all mouse genes have human homologs; the mouse has 2.7 billion base pairs and 20 pairs of chromosomes. They can be manipulated in ways that are illegal with humans, although animal rights activists object. A knockout mouse is a genetically modified mouse that has had one or more of its genes made inoperable through a gene knockout. Reasons for common selection of mice are small size, inexpensive varied diet maintained, can reproduce quickly. Several generations of mice can be observed in a short time. Mice are very docile if raised from birth and given sufficient human contact. However, certain strains have been known to be quite temperamental. Mice and rats have the same organs in the same places, with the difference of size. Many people buy mice as companion pets, they can be playful and can grow used to being handled. Like pet rats, pet mice should not be left unsupervised outside as they have many natural predators, including birds, lizards and dogs.
Male mice tend to have a stronger odor than the females. However, mice are as pets they never need bathing. Well looked-after mice can make ideal pets; some common mouse care products are: Cage – Usually a hamster or gerbil cage, but a variety of special mouse cages are now available. Most should have a secure door. Food – Special pelleted and seed-based food is available. Mice can eat most rodent food Bedding – Usually made of hardwood pulp, such as aspen, sometimes from shredded, uninked paper or recycled virgin wood pulp. Using corn husk bedding is avoided because it promotes Aspergillus fungus, can grow mold once it gets wet, rough on their feet. In nature, mice are herbivores, consuming any kind of fruit or grain from plants. However, mice adapt well to urban areas and are known for eating all types of food scraps. In captivity, mice are fed commercial pelleted mouse diet; these diets are nutritionally complete. Mice are a staple in the diet of many small carnivores. Humans have eaten mice since prehistoric times and still eat them as a delicacy throughout eastern Zambia and northern Malawi, where they are a seasonal source of protein.
Mice are no longer consumed by humans elsewhere. However, in Victorian Britain, fried mice were still given to children as a folk remedy for bed-wetting. Prescribed cures in Ancient Egypt included mice as medicine. In Ancient Egypt, when infant
Moles are small mammals adapted to a subterranean lifestyle. They have cylindrical bodies; the term mole is and most properly used for "true moles" of the Talpidae family in the order Eulipotyphla, which are found in most parts of North America and Europe, although it may refer to unrelated mammals of Australia and southern Africa that have convergently evolved the "mole" body plan. The term is not applied to all talpids. Moles are known pests to human activities such as agriculture and gardening. However, they do not eat plant roots. In Middle English, moles were known as moldwarp; the expression "don't make a mountain out of a mole hill" – exaggerating problems – was first recorded in Tudor times. By the era of Early Modern English, the mole was known in English as mouldywarp, a word having cognates in other Germanic languages such as German, Danish, Norwegian and Icelandic, where the muld/mull/mold part of the word means soil and the varp/vad/varpa part means throw, hence "one who throws soil" or "dirt tosser".
Male moles are called "boars", females are called "sows". A group of moles is called a "labour". Moles have been found to tolerate higher levels of carbon dioxide than other mammals because their blood cells have a special form of hemoglobin that has a higher affinity to oxygen than other forms. In addition to this, moles utilize oxygen more by reusing the exhaled air, as a result, are able to survive in low-oxygen environments such as underground burrows. Moles have polydactyl forepaws. While the mole's other digits have multiple joints, the prepollex has a single, sickle-shaped bone that develops and differently from the other fingers during embryogenesis from a transformed sesamoid bone in the wrist, independently evolved but similar to the giant panda thumb; this supernumerary digit is species-specific, as it is not present in shrews, the mole's closest relatives. Androgenic steroids are known to affect the growth and formation of bones, a connection is possible between this species-specific trait and the "male" genitals apparatus in female moles of many mole species.
A mole's diet consists of earthworms and other small invertebrates found in the soil, a variety of nuts. The mole runs are in reality "worm traps", the mole sensing when a worm falls into the tunnel and running along to kill and eat it; because their saliva contains a toxin that can paralyze earthworms, moles are able to store their still-living prey for consumption. They construct special underground "larders" for just this purpose. Before eating earthworms, moles pull them between their squeezed paws to force the collected earth and dirt out of the worm's gut; the star-nosed mole can detect and eat food faster than the human eye can follow. Breeding season for a mole depends on species but is February through May. Males search for females by tunneling through foreign areas; the gestation period of the Eastern mole is 42 days. Three to five young are born in March and early April. Townsend moles mate in February and March, the 2–4 young are born in March and April after a gestation period of about 1 month.
The Townsend mole is endangered in the United States and Canada. Coast moles produce a litter of 2 -- 5 pups between April. Pups leave the nest 30–45 days after birth to find territories of their own. Moles are solitary creatures, coming together only to mate. Territories may overlap; the family Talpidae contains some of their close relatives. Desmans, which are Talpidae but are not called "moles", are not shown below, but belong to the subfamily Talpinae; those species called "shrew moles" represent an intermediate form between the moles and their shrew ancestors, as such may not be described by the article. On the other hand, there is no monophyletic relation between the mole and the hedgehog, both of which were placed in the now abandoned order Insectivora; as a result, Soricomorpha within Insectivora, has been elevated to the level of an order. Subfamily Scalopinae: New World moles Tribe Condylurini Star-nosed mole Genus Condylura: Star-nosed mole Tribe Scalopini New World moles Genus Parascalops: Hairy-tailed mole Genus Scalopus: Eastern mole Genus Scapanulus: Gansu mole Genus Scapanus: Western North American moles Subfamily Talpinae Old World moles and shrew moles Tribe Talpini: Old World moles Genus Euroscaptor: Six Asian species Genus Mogera Nine species from Japan and Eastern China Genus Parascaptor: White-tailed mole, southern Asia Genus Scaptochirus: Short-faced mole, China Genus Talpa Ten species and western Asia Tribe Scaptonychini Long-tailed mole Genus Scaptonyx: Long-tailed mole Tribe Urotrichini: Japanese shrew moles Genus Dymecodon: True’s shrew mole Genus Urotrichus: Japanese shrew mole Tribe Neurotrichini New World shrew moles G
Canada is a country in the northern part of North America. Its ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic to the Pacific and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering 9.98 million square kilometres, making it the world's second-largest country by total area. Canada's southern border with the United States is the world's longest bi-national land border, its capital is Ottawa, its three largest metropolitan areas are Toronto and Vancouver. As a whole, Canada is sparsely populated, the majority of its land area being dominated by forest and tundra, its population is urbanized, with over 80 percent of its inhabitants concentrated in large and medium-sized cities, many near the southern border. Canada's climate varies across its vast area, ranging from arctic weather in the north, to hot summers in the southern regions, with four distinct seasons. Various indigenous peoples have inhabited what is now Canada for thousands of years prior to European colonization. Beginning in the 16th century and French expeditions explored, settled, along the Atlantic coast.
As a consequence of various armed conflicts, France ceded nearly all of its colonies in North America in 1763. In 1867, with the union of three British North American colonies through Confederation, Canada was formed as a federal dominion of four provinces; this began an accretion of provinces and territories and a process of increasing autonomy from the United Kingdom. This widening autonomy was highlighted by the Statute of Westminster of 1931 and culminated in the Canada Act of 1982, which severed the vestiges of legal dependence on the British parliament. Canada is a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy in the Westminster tradition, with Elizabeth II as its queen and a prime minister who serves as the chair of the federal cabinet and head of government; the country is a realm within the Commonwealth of Nations, a member of the Francophonie and bilingual at the federal level. It ranks among the highest in international measurements of government transparency, civil liberties, quality of life, economic freedom, education.
It is one of the world's most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations, the product of large-scale immigration from many other countries. Canada's long and complex relationship with the United States has had a significant impact on its economy and culture. A developed country, Canada has the sixteenth-highest nominal per capita income globally as well as the twelfth-highest ranking in the Human Development Index, its advanced economy is the tenth-largest in the world, relying chiefly upon its abundant natural resources and well-developed international trade networks. Canada is part of several major international and intergovernmental institutions or groupings including the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G7, the Group of Ten, the G20, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. While a variety of theories have been postulated for the etymological origins of Canada, the name is now accepted as coming from the St. Lawrence Iroquoian word kanata, meaning "village" or "settlement".
In 1535, indigenous inhabitants of the present-day Quebec City region used the word to direct French explorer Jacques Cartier to the village of Stadacona. Cartier used the word Canada to refer not only to that particular village but to the entire area subject to Donnacona. From the 16th to the early 18th century "Canada" referred to the part of New France that lay along the Saint Lawrence River. In 1791, the area became two British colonies called Upper Canada and Lower Canada collectively named the Canadas. Upon Confederation in 1867, Canada was adopted as the legal name for the new country at the London Conference, the word Dominion was conferred as the country's title. By the 1950s, the term Dominion of Canada was no longer used by the United Kingdom, which considered Canada a "Realm of the Commonwealth"; the government of Louis St. Laurent ended the practice of using'Dominion' in the Statutes of Canada in 1951. In 1982, the passage of the Canada Act, bringing the Constitution of Canada under Canadian control, referred only to Canada, that year the name of the national holiday was changed from Dominion Day to Canada Day.
The term Dominion was used to distinguish the federal government from the provinces, though after the Second World War the term federal had replaced dominion. Indigenous peoples in present-day Canada include the First Nations, Métis, the last being a mixed-blood people who originated in the mid-17th century when First Nations and Inuit people married European settlers; the term "Aboriginal" as a collective noun is a specific term of art used in some legal documents, including the Constitution Act 1982. The first inhabitants of North America are hypothesized to have migrated from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and arrived at least 14,000 years ago; the Paleo-Indian archeological sites at Old Crow Flats and Bluefish Caves are two of the oldest sites of human habitation in Canada. The characteristics of Canadian indigenous societies included permanent settlements, complex societal hierarchies, trading networks; some of these cultures had collapsed by the time European explorers arrived in the late 15th and early 16th centuries and have only been discovered through archeological investigations.
The indigenous population at the time of the first European settlements is estimated to have been between 200,000