The aardvark is the lone representative of the order of mammals known as tubiladentata, meaning tubular (or hollow) teeth. Also known by the genus name Orycteropus which comes from the Ancient Greek words ὀρυκτήρ (orycter) meaning nail and πους (pous) meaning foot and together meaning nail footed, as they have extremely large and sharp claws used for digging. The common word aardvark comes from the Dutch Afrikaans word aardvark meaning earth-pig for its burrowing, a composite word from aard meaning earth and vark meaning pig. The binomial name was given by French naturalist Georges Chrétien Léopold Dagobert Cuvier in 1798.
Image of aardvarks sleeping courtesy estherase, used with permission under a Creative Commons 3.0 license.