Lagomorpha

The lagomorphs are the members of the taxonomic order Lagomorpha, of which there are two living families: the Leporidae (hares and rabbits) and the Ochotonidae (pikas). The name of the order is derived from the Greek lagos (λαγος, "hare") and morphē (μορφή, "form").

Though these mammals can resemble rodents (order Rodentia) and were classified as a superfamily in that order until the early twentieth century, they have since been considered a separate order. For a time it was common to consider the lagomorphs only distant relatives of the rodents, to whom they merely bore a superficial resemblance.

The evolutionary history of the lagomorphs is still not well understood. Until recently, it was generally agreed that Eurymylus, which lived in eastern Asia and dates back to the late Paleocene or early Eocene, was an ancestor of the lagomorphs. More recent examination of the fossil evidence suggests that lagomorphs may have instead descended from Anagaloidea also known as mimotonids, while Eurymylus was more closely related to rodents (although not a direct ancestor.) The leporids first appeared in the late Eocene and rapidly spread throughout the northern hemisphere; they show a trend towards increasingly long hind limbs as the modern leaping gait developed. The pikas appeared somewhat later in the Oligocene of eastern Asia.

Read more about Lagomorpha:  Characteristics, Classification

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