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North American Mammals
A Smithsonian site all about our furry friends.
Grade Level: 3-5, 6-8, 9-12

This site from the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History is a “searchable database of all living mammals of North America”. The database features detailed descriptions, images, diagrams and distribution range maps for more 400 mammals native to the North American continent and particularly the United States.
The site offers a left side menu with links to the archive, collections, field guide and glossary. Additionally, users can search for a specific mammal in a variety of ways: location, species name, family tree, conservation status and special collections. QuickTime, Adobe Acrobat Reader, and Macromedia Flash Player are needed to fully appreciate the features of the site.

This online database, based on the Mammals of North America by Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson, and The Smithsonian Book of North American Mammals by Don E. Wilson and Sue Ruff, is a rich resource for teachers, students or anyone interested in biology or the identification of mammals in North America. The wealth of information is extensive from the printable and customizable field guide to the interactive Geographical Information Systems (GIS) maps of species distribution. Teachers or students will appreciate the ability to select and create a personal field guide for the animals that are specific to their study. Each page of the guide includes the location for which the information was collected, the animal’s scientific and common names, the species' image and distribution range, the descriptive information for the species, and a special area for notes. There are two types of maps; one that shows static distribution and the other that interactively offers a variety of overlays that include topography, states and province boundaries, cities, rivers, and US interstate highways. Additionally, users can make use of a variety of other search options such as; location and have the results displayed as a list or as a set of images; family tree to find all the taxa included within a group; conservation status to find the endangered species; and special collections of bones and teeth to help identify species or compare functional parts of the skull and skeleton. Any of these searches can be converted into a printable, personal field guide.


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