The Aardvark (Orycteropus afer) (afer: from Africa) is a medium-sized, burrowing, nocturnal mammal native to Africa.2 It is the only living species of the order Tubulidentata,3 although other prehistoric species and genera of Tubulidentata are known.
It is sometimes called antbear, anteater, or Cape anteater (after the Cape of Good Hope). The word aardvark is famous for being one of the first entries to appear in many encyclopaedias and even abridged dictionaries. The name comes from the AfrikaansDutch4 for earth pig or ground pig (aarde earthground, varken pig), because early settlers from Europe thought it resembled a domestic pig. However, the aardvark is not closely related to the pig rather, it is the sole recent representative of the obscure mammalian order Tubulidentata, in which it is usually considered to form a single variable species of the genus Orycteropus, the sole surviving genus in the family Orycteropodidae. The aardvark is not closely related to the South American anteater, despite sharing some characteristics and a superficial resemblance.5 The closest living relatives of the aardvark are the elephant shrews, along with the sirenians, hyraxes, tenrecs, and elephants. Together, these animals form the superorder Afrotheria.