The name formerly given to a supposed suborder of Carnivora. It comprises the families Otariidae (sea lions), Odobenidae (walrus), and Phocidae (seals), together with their immediate ancestors. The families may not be related closely, the classification being based on similarities of appearance and way of life that may result from convergence (see convergent evolution); pinnipeds are, in any case, closely related to bears and dogs, and today are generally included in the suborder Caniformia. All are marine carnivores in which the digits are fully webbed and, with the limbs, modified to form paddles. The hind limbs are directed to the rear while swimming, and are used for propulsion. Teeth are reduced in number.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.