This is a very small order which has been constituted by Huxley for the reception of two or three little animals, which make up the single genus Hyrax. These have been usually placed in the immediate neighbourhood of the Rhinoceros, to which they have some decided affinities, and they are still retained by Owen in the section of the Perissodactyle Ungulates.

The order is distinguished by the following characters: There are no canine teeth, and the incisors of the upper jaw are long and curved, and grow from permanent pulps, as they do in the Rodents (such as the Beaver, Rat, etc.) The lower incisors are directed forwards. The molar teeth are singularly like those of the Rhinoceros. According to Huxley, the dental formula of the aged animal is:

i

2 - 2

c

0 - 0

; pm

4 - 4

; m

3 - 3

=

36.

2 - 2

0 - 0

4 - 4

3 - 3

The fore-feet are tetradactylous, the hind-feet tridactylous, and all the toes have rounded hoof like nails, with the exception of the inner toes of the hind-feet, which have an obliquely-curved nail. There are no clavicles. The nose and ears are short, and the tail is represented by a mere tubercle. The placenta is deciduate and zonary, whereas in the Ungulates it is non-deciduate.

Several species of Hyrax are known, but they resemble one another in all essential particulars, and, with the exception of H. Syriacus, they are exclusively confined to Africa. They are all gregarious little animals, living in holes of the rocks, and capable of domestication. Some forms (Dendrohyrax) are arboreal in their habits. The "coney" of Scripture is believed to be the Hyrax Syriacus, which occurs in the rocky parts of Syria and Palestine. Another species - the Hyrax Capensis, or "Klipdas" ("badger of the cliffs") - occurs commonly in South Africa, and is known by the colonists as the "badger."

Fig. 416.   Skull of Hyrax. (After Cuvier.)

Fig. 416. - Skull of Hyrax. (After Cuvier.)

No fossil remains have as yet been discovered which can with certainty be referred to this order.