Welcome to You Ask Andy

Kathleen Farrell  , age 10, of San Diego, CA 

To what family does the anteater belong?

In everyday language: any animal who dines on ants can be called an anteater  But in order to be classified together in one family, a group of animals must have several important features in common  If animals could be classified merely on diet, the bears would be in the same family as certain monkeys: for both eat meat and vegetables  ‑

Most of the well‑known anteaters, however, have no teeth or a few weak teeth  and toothiness is one of those basic features by which animals can be classified  The family name of these anteaters is Endentata ‑ the toothless ones  The sloths and the armadillos, the scaly pangolins and the big aardvarks are ant eating endentates 

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