A Donkey Is Not Just A Donkey!

Moke, Ass, Jannet, Jack, Jackass, Burro, Donkey - So many common names for one species
The following contains more of a detailed breakdown in the classification and explanation of the donkey.

Domain: Eurkarya
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family Equidae
Genus: Equus
Species: Equus asinus
Donkey Rescue picture of a donkey herd in its rocky habitat

Eukarya The donkey can be classified in this domain because it is a multicellular species whose cells contain a true nucleus and membrane bound organelles.
Animalia This kingdom pertains to donkeys because they are eukaryotic, multicellular, heterotrophic, motile, and lack cell walls. They reproduce sexually and do not undergo an alternation of generations.
Chordata: This species can be classified as a chordate because at one point in its life it has a notochord, a dorsal tubular nerve chord, pharyngeal pouches, an endostyle, and a postanal tail.
Mammalia: The donkey is considered a mammal because it is homeothermic or  has the ability regulate temperature internally. Their bodies are covered in hair and they possess glands such as sweat, sebaceous, and mammary glands.
Perissodactyla: Donkeys are odd toed ungulates, which means they have an odd number of toes. This order possess a middle toe that is larger than all the others. Other animals in the order perissodactyla include rhinos and tapirs.
Equiade: This is also known as the horse family. Donkeys are under this family because of their long heads and necks and  possess a mane. All equids walk on the tips of their toes.  Donkeys are also grazers.
Equus: Donkeys are classified in the Equus
genus because they are one toed. Other animals in this genus include zebras and horses.
Equus asinus: The donkey has a lean, straight backed body with long ears and elongated head that helps determine its species.

Equus in Latin means horse. As mentioned previously, there are many different common names for this species. Nowadays,  in the United States it is more commonly known as the donkey yet is still referred to as an ass. The origins of the common names are not fully understood.  The word ass is believed to come from its species name asinus. In the United States, however, the word ass can be used as a vulgar term. It is believed that the term donkey came from the genetically dominate grey dun coat color.

Phylogenetic Tree

This Phylogenetic tree demonstrates the development of the genus Equus. The evolutionary factors used to develop the tree include morphological differences in the foot, limbs, and teeth. The older organisms possessed four font toes and three hind toes along with smaller pointy teeth. Evolution and natural selection produced the Equus which has a skinnier single toed limbs with larger flatter teeth.

Regenerated from information in "Horns, Tusks, and Flippers"

The phylogenetic tree below is a more recent evolutionary tree. Horses, donkeys, and zebras all share the common extinct ancestor Dinohippus. Overtime the Equus genus  began evolving into its own species subspecies as seen below.


Regenerated from information in "Horns, Tucks, and Flippers"


After understanding the classification of these animals, let's learn about the adaptations they developed.


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