The Suidae include the Old World pigs (Suinae) and the American peccaries (Dicotylinae), and are characterized by the snout terminating in a fleshy disk-like expansion, in the midst of which are perforated the nostrils; while the toes are enclosed in sharp hoofs, of which the lateral ones do not touch the ground.
The Suidae are divisible into the true Old World swine (Suinae) and the American peccaries (Dicotylinae).
The pigs (Suidae) and the hippopotamuses (Hippopotamidae) are essentially Old World groups, the former of which has alone succeeded in reaching America, where it is represented by the collateral branch of the peccaries (Dicotylinae).
Remains of extinct peccaries referable to the modern genus occur in the caverns and superficial deposits of South America, but not in the earlier formations.
A cursory inspection of the bird, which is not unfrequently brought alive to Europe, its size, and its enormous bill and talons, at once suggest the vast powers of destruction imputed to it, and are enough to account for the stories told of its ravages on mammals - sloths, fawns, peccaries and spidermonkeys.