Thursday, January 11, 2007

Animals are a main group of organisms, classified as the kingdom Animalia or Meta­zoa. In general they are multi­cellular, capable of locomotion, responsive to their environment, and feed by consuming other organisms. Their body plan becomes permanent as they develop, usually early on in their development as embryos, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on.

The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animal, of which animalia is the plural, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday usage animal refers to any member of the animal kingdom that is not a human being, and sometimes excludes insects. The use of the word animal in law classically reflects the common pre-scientific use of the word, roughly equivalent to what modern biology would classify as nonhuman mammal. For example, wildlife laws normally use phrases such as "animals, birds and fish."

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