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Although there are many different types of animals on Earth, many of these animals have lots of things in common. These same animals may also have many things that are different. In comparing animals we can look for things that are the same, and things that are different to help us understand how these animals are related to each other. We can also use these comparisons to help us understand how these animals are related to their environment. Here a two simple examples of animal comparisons on the land, and in the sea. For much more detailed comparison see the Kidport reference library section on Animal Classification.

On the Land

Let's compare the zebra and the lion. Although they look quite different at first, they have a lot in common with each other. The zebra and the lion have more in common with each other than either of them have in common with a fish.
Zebra

What's the Same?

  • Live on land
  • Live in Africa
  • Four legs
  • Two eyes
  • Two ears
  • Tail
  • Mouth with teeth
  • Nose for smelling
Lion

What's Different?

  • Zebras each grass, lions eat zebras and other meat
  • Zebras have stripes
  • Lions have claws on their feet, zebras have hooves

In the Sea

In comparing the dolphin and the shark, there are some obvious things that are the same. They both live in water. They both eat fish. They also both have fins for swimming. But, there are also some major differences. The biggest difference is that the dolphin is a mammal.
Dolphin

What's the Same?

  • Live in water
  • Fins for swimming
  • Mouth with teeth
  • Eat fish
  • Two eyes
Shark

What's Different?

  • Dolphin is a mammal that must come to the surface to breathe air
  • Shark is a fish that can breathe under water through gills
  • Dolphins have been known to help humans in the water, while sharks have been known to eat humans in the water
 
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