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Animal Life

What is a manis?

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04/26/2007

Pangolins or scaly anteaters are mammals in the order Pholidota. There is only one extant family (Manidae) and one genus (Manis) of pangolins, comprising eight species. (There are also a number of extinct taxa within Pholidota.) Pangolins have large scales on their skin and are found in tropical regions of Africa and Asia. The name "pangolin" is derived from the Malay word pengguling ("something that rolls up"). In older classifications, pangolins were classified with various other orders, for example Edentata, which includes the ordinary anteaters and the similar-looking armadillos. Newer genetic evidence, however, indicates that the closest living relatives of pangolins are the Carnivora, with which they form a clade, the Ferae. Some paleontologists have classified the pangolins in the order Cimolesta, together with several extinct groups.