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The order Carnivora includes over 280 species of placental mammals. Its members are formally referred to as carnivorans, whereas the word "carnivore" can refer to any meat-eating organism. Carnivorans apparently evolved in North America out of members of the family Miacidae about 42 million years ago. They soon split into cat-like and dog-like forms (Feliformia and Caniformia).

Caniformia (literally "dog-like"). Most members of this group have non-retractile claws (the fisher, marten, red panda and ringtail have retractile or semi-retractile claws) and tend to be plantigrade (with the exception of Canidae). Caniformia have longer jaws and have more teeth, with less specialized carnassial teeth. They also tend more towards omnivorous and opportunistic feeding.

For more information, visit the Wikipedia entry.

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