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scientific study of mammals. Interest in nonhuman mammals dates far back in prehistory, and the modern science of mammalogy has its broad foundation in the knowledge of mammals possessed by primitive peoples. The ancient Greeks were among the first peoples to write systematically on mammalian natural history, and they knew many mammals not native to Greece; Aristotle recognized that whales and dolphins (cetaceans), although fishlike in form, are mammals allied to terrestrial furbearers. Until the late 18th century, much scientific work on mammals was devoted to taxonomy or to the practical matters of animal husbandry. The scientific explorations of the 19th century resulted in large collections of specimens from virtually all parts of the world. Most of the world's mammal species are believed to be known to science (with the possible exception of a good many rodent and bat species), but the biology of many species is totally unknown. Modern mammalogy is a multidisciplinary field, encompassing specialists in anatomy, paleontology, ecology, behaviour, and many other areas