The jugal is without an inferior angle, and extends forwards to the lachrymal; the palate is contracted in front and deeply emarginate behind; the incisors are short, and the molars divided by continuous folds into transverse plates; and the two halves of the lower jaw are welded together in front.
The zygomatic arch is variously developed, and the position of the jugal is a character for grouping the families.
In the skull the zygomatic arch is slender and the jugal bone small and not extending far forwards, being supported by the long zygomatic process of the maxilla, while the infra-orbital foramen is mostly large, and there are no post-orbital processes.
Mentary first premolar, Ma, Jugal or malar bone.
The post-orbital processes of the frontal and jugal are widely sundered, and the former may even be small (Xerus).
The upper lip is cleft, the jugal lacks an inferior angle, the fore part of the skull is short and broad; the cheek-teeth are partially rooted, with external and internal enamel-folds, the soles of the feet are smooth, there are six pairs of teats, the clavicles are imperfect and the tail is not prehensile.
It shows the characteristic hippopotamus-flange to the lower jaw, but has also a large descending process from the jugal bone of the zygomatic arch of the skull.
Attached to it or the neighbouring frontal is often a supraorbital; infraorbitals occur also, attached to the jugal or downward process of the lacrymal.
The lachrymal occupies a considerable space on the flat surface of the cheek in front of the orbit, and below it the jugal does the same.
In the skull the tympanic bulla is hollow, the pterygoid fossa shallow and the zygomatic arch slender, with a rudimentary jugal bone.