Afrotheres | Afrotheria
Afrotheria refers to a superorder of mammals thought to have common ancestors that have roots in Africa or living in Africa. The animals are usually insectivorous and share little resemblance other than their genetics. Many of the Afrotheres live on land, but there are also others like sea cows that inhabit water bodies. Afrotheres are characterized by late permanent dental eruption, unusually long mobile snout, small body size, and unspecialized limbs. Many Afrotheres are already extinct and the existing ones are threatened by human activity which destroys their habitat. All in all, they fulfill the role left by other ant-eating mammals and large herbivores.
Afrotheria are different than other mammals as the 7 groups that make up this clade are not physically in resemblance with one another so their relationship is not often known. The 7 groups that make up this order include the elephants, sea cows, hyraxes, aardvarks, elephant shrews, golden moles, and tenrecs.
In total there are 4,700 species of Afrotheria which make up about one-third of all the living orders of mammals. The Afrotheria species make up about 80 of the 1,250 species of mammals that live in Africa and Madagascar.
Aardvarks and elephants are related as they both belong to the group of primitive ungulates that are called Uranotherians. The split between them took place more than 90 million years ago and led to the Ungulate, Carnivore, Xenarthran, and Cetacean orders. Aardvarks and elephants are part of the Afrotheres clade.