Ruminants (suborder Ruminantia) are hoofed herbivorous grazing or browsing mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. The process, which takes place in the front part of the digestive system and therefore is called foregut fermentation, typically requires the fermented ingesta (known as cud) to be regurgitated and chewed again. The process of rechewing the cud to further break down plant matter and stimulate digestion is called rumination. The word "ruminant" comes from the Latin ruminare, which means "to chew over again".
The roughly 200 species of ruminants include both domestic and wild species. Ruminating mammals include cattle, all domesticated and wild bovines, goats, sheep, giraffes, deer, gazelles, and antelopes. It has also been suggested that notoungulates also relied on rumination, as opposed to other atlantogenates that rely on the more typical hindgut fermentation, though this is not entirely certain.
Taxonomically, the suborder Ruminantia is a lineage of herbivorous artiodactyls that includes the most advanced and widespread of the world's ungulates. The suborder Ruminantia includes six different families: Tragulidae, Giraffidae, Antilocapridae, Moschidae, Cervidae, and Bovidae.