Mammals are distinguishable from other classes of animals due to certain features:
1) They have body hair
2) They have three middle ear bones called the malleus, the incus, and the stapes.
3) Female mammals contain mammary glands, which produces milk to feed the young.
There are a few key criteria to mammal classification.
1.) They are vertebrates and are warm-blooded (though these two characteristics are not unique to mammals).
2.) They must have some form of hair or fur.
3.) The mammal mothers must lactate (produce milk) for their young. In fact, it’s from the name of the milk-producing gland, the mammary gland, from which the name “mammal” was derived.
4.) Excepting only five species out of the roughly 4,200 mammal species, they give birth to live young (the platypus, for instance, lays eggs).
5.) They must have just a single bone for their lower jar and three small bones in their middle ear (the Stapes, Incus and Malleus).
6.)They have diaphrams, and their aeorta curves to the left.
Here’s Dr. Ross MacPhee, of the American Museum of Natural History, explaining the same:
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