Family Manidae

The sole family in the Order Pholidota, these are the pangolins — curious mammals covered in scales made of densely fused hairs, which give them the appearance of giant animated pine cones. They have stout limbs adapted for digging. Pangolins are often grouped together with the anteaters and armadillos because of their similar lifestyle: they feed largely on ants and termites. However, this is probably an arrangement of convenience rather than a reflection of any close relationship.

The extreme specializations of all these creatures make it difficult to determine their true relationships. All 7 living species of pangolins are placed in the single genus Manis. They are found in tropical Africa and Southeast Asia.

name: Eomanis time: Middle Eocene locality: Europe (Germany) size: 20 in/50 cm long

The earliest known pangolin, Eomanis is represented by a well-preserved fossil from the same oil shale deposits that yielded the skeleton of Eurotamandua. Even the scales were preserved, and it is quite obvious that Eomanis looked very-much like the pangolins of today. The animal may have been able to close its eyes, ears and nostrils as a protection against ant stings, as the modern species can do. From the remains of Eomanis' stomach, it is clear that its diet consisted of both plant matter and insects.

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