The Greek word hippopotamuses derived in Latin hippopotămus. That is the immediate etymological antecedent of hippopotamus, a term that refers to a animal that lives in the main rivers of the African continent.

HippopotamusHippos are vertebrates (They have a skeleton with a skull and spinal column and a central nervous system) and mammals (They have a constant temperature, their embryo usually develops inside the mother’s womb and their descendants are fed with the milk secreted by the female breasts). They are also rated as ungulates (because its extremities end in hooves), or more precisely as artiodactyls (The termination of the limbs is given in an even number of fingers, resting at least two on the ground).

With very thick skin, hippos are characterized by their enormous mouth. His eyes and ears, on the other hand, are small. On the other hand, its bulging body, which can measure about two meters high by three long, is supported by short legs.

Close relatives of the cetaceans, together with these animals they form the clade Whippomorpha. It is estimated that they arose in the Miocene, descending from the anthracotherids (extinct today). Currently only two remain species of hippos: the common hippo (of scientific name Hippopotamus amphibius) and the pygmy hippo (Choeropsis liberiensis).

It is interesting to note that hippos can become aggressive since they are territorial animals, attacking even the human being. Much of the day is spent in the mud or in the Water, which allows them to prevent the skin from becoming dry and to keep the body temperature low.