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Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular eukaryotic organisms that form the biological kingdom Animalia. With few exceptions, animals consume organic material, breathe oxygen, are able to move, can reproduce sexually, and grow from a hollow sphere of cells, the blastula, during embryonic development. Over 1.5 million living animal species have been described—of which around 1 million are insects—but it has been estimated there are over 7 million animal species in total. Animals range in length from 8.5 micrometres (0.00033 in) to 33.6 metres (110 ft). They have complex interactions with each other and their environments, forming intricate food webs. The kingdom Animalia includes humans but in colloquial use the term animal often refers only to non-human animals. The scientific study of animals is known as zoology.

Most living animal species are in Bilateria, a clade whose members have a bilaterally symmetric body plan. The Bilateria include the protostomes—in which many groups of invertebrates are found, such as nematodes, arthropods, and molluscs—and the deuterostomes, containing both the echinoderms as well as the chordates, the latter containing the vertebrates. Life forms interpreted as early animals were present in the Ediacaran biota of the late Precambrian. Many modern animal phyla became clearly established in the fossil record as marine species during the Cambrian explosion, which began around 542 million years ago. 6,331 groups of genes common to all living animals have been identified; these may have arisen from a single common ancestor that lived 650 million years ago.

Historically, Aristotle divided animals into those with blood and those without. Carl Linnaeus created the first hierarchical biological classification for animals in 1758 with his Systema Naturae, which Jean-Baptiste Lamarck expanded into 14 phyla by 1809. In 1874, Ernst Haeckel divided the animal kingdom into the multicellular Metazoa (now synonymous for Animalia) and the Protozoa, single-celled organisms no longer considered animals. In modern times, the biological classification of animals relies on advanced techniques, such as molecular phylogenetics, which are effective at demonstrating the evolutionary relationships between taxa.

Humans make use of many other animal species, such as for food (including meat, milk, and eggs), for materials (such as leather and wool), as pets, and as working animals including for transport. Dogs have been used in hunting, while many terrestrial and aquatic animals were hunted for sports. Non-human animals have appeared in art from the earliest times and are featured in mythology and religion.

Animal Media

4,502 media by topicpage 1 of 46
Animal figurine

Animal figurine

From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, Cemetery, MMA excavations, 1906–07 Middle Kingdom

Animal figure

Animal figure

From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery south of Rehuerdjersen (384), Pit 712 south chamber, MMA excavations, 1907–08 Middle Kingdom

Wounded Animal in a Hunting Scene, Tomb of Userhat

Wounded Animal in a Hunting Scene, Tomb of Userhat

Charles K. Wilkinson From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes New Kingdom

Animal Pendant with Fish Tail

Animal Pendant with Fish Tail

Shang (ca. 1600–1046 B.C.)–Western Zhou (1046–771 B.C.) dynasty

Animal figurine

Animal figurine

From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, Cemetery, MMA excavations, 1906–07 Middle Kingdom

Animal Figurine

Animal Figurine

From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, MMA excavations Ptolemaic Period

Animal figure

Animal figure

From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery south of Rehuerdjersen (384), Pit 712 south chamber, MMA excavations, 1907–08 Middle Kingdom

Head from an Animal Figurine

Head from an Animal Figurine

From Egypt, Upper Egypt, Thebes, Asasif, MMA excavations Ptolemaic Period

Animal figure

Animal figure

From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery south of Senwosret (758), Pit 619, MMA excavations, 1907–08 Middle Kingdom

Plaque in the Shape of an Animal Head

Plaque in the Shape of an Animal Head

Western Zhou dynasty (1046–771 B.C.)

Animal amulet

Animal amulet

From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, cemetery south of pyramid below House A2:1, Pit 486, MMA excavations, 1913–14 Middle Kingdom–Early New Kingdom

Plaque in the Shape of an Animal

Plaque in the Shape of an Animal

Accession Number: 2009.96 Eastern Zhou dynasty (770–256 B.C.)

Pin with Animal
Animal figurine

Animal figurine

Mesopotamia, Ctesiphon Sasanian

Animal figurine

Animal figurine

Iran, Qasr-i Abu Nasr Sasanian

Animal figurine

Animal figurine

Mesopotamia, Ctesiphon Sasanian

Weefselfragment met tabula

Weefselfragment met tabula

Naturelkleurig linnen weefselfragment met ingeweven tabula met vijf cirkels in bordeauxrood. In de centrale cirkel een centaur, in de cirkels linksboven en rechtsonder een geknielde figuur met schild en krans, ... More

Fragment of an Animal

Fragment of an Animal

Made in Kharga Oasis, Byzantine Egypt

Animal Head Hacha

Animal Head Hacha

Guatemala, Mesoamerica

Animal (?)

Animal (?)

Made in Kharga Oasis, Byzantine Egypt

Animal

Animal

Made in Kharga Oasis, Byzantine Egypt

Animal

Animal

Made in Kharga Oasis, Byzantine Egypt

Animal

Animal

Made in Kharga Oasis, Byzantine Egypt

Fragment of an Animal

Fragment of an Animal

Made in Kharga Oasis, Byzantine Egypt

Animal

Animal

Mexico, Mesoamerica, Nayarit

Animal Ornament
Fragment van een tunica

Fragment van een tunica

Fragment van een tunica(?), bestaande uit een baan rode en een baan blauwe stof met een brede en twee smalle naturelkleurige strepen. Op de rode stof zijn twee stroken met vaasvormig ornament met erin en ernaas... More

Gold Curly Tailed Animal Pendant

Gold Curly Tailed Animal Pendant

Panama, Central America

Animal Pendant
Animal Flask
Animal flask
Painted Animal Vessel

Painted Animal Vessel

Mexico, Mesoamerica, Veracruz

Bottle, Animal Head on Neck

Bottle, Animal Head on Neck

United States, Missouri

Liggende leeuw

Liggende leeuw

Het dier is gegoten en vervolgens geciseleerd en bijgestoken. Het ligt op vier poten en kijkt naar rechts omhoog. Het heeft de bek geopend, zodat tong en tanden zichtbaar zijn. Kleine oren. Manen in rijen geord... More

Beeld in de vorm van een dier, mogelijk een kandelaar

Beeld in de vorm van een dier, mogelijk een kandelaar

Het voorwerp heeft de vorm van een viervoetig dier met een langgerekt lichaam, een kleine kop en twee oren en een kort staartje. In de rug een rond gat (ter bevestiging van de stam van de kandelaar?).

Aquamanile in the form of a horse

Aquamanile in the form of a horse

Het in cire perdue-techniek gegoten en vervolgens bijgeciseleerde voorwerp, waarvan een enkel detail is uitgestoken, heeft de vorm van een paard. De kop is verlevendigd door grote gestileerde ogen en kleine ops... More

Candlestick: knight with dragon

Candlestick: knight with dragon

Op de hooggewelfde rug van de draak zit een mannetje tussen rankwerk, waarvan de uitzwenkende krullen in bladeren eindigen. Bovenaan gaat het rankwerk over in een gelobde vetvanger met een kaarsenpin. De vetvan... More