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What, If Anything, is a Rabbit?
Albert E. Wood
Vol. 11, No. 4 (Dec., 1957), pp. 417-425
Published by: Society for the Study of Evolution
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2406062
Page Count: 9
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The following points seem reasonable interpretations of the available data: (1) There is no special relationship between the rodents and the lagomorphs, the resemblances between them involving either primitive placental characteristics or ones related to the development of the gnawing type of dentition. (2) The Lagomorpha are placental mammals and, as such, are ultimately derivable from the insectivores. The tuberculo-sectorial lower teeth support such a relationship, as do all the other features of the soft anatomy that indicate that the lagomorphs are placentals. There is, however, no evidence for direct derivation from insectivores, an origin which would appear probable for the rodents. (3) There are a number of similarities between the lagomorphs and various ungulates. These are sufficiently numerous to suggest that the source of the lagomorphs is to be found in some unknown Paleocene or Cretaceous member of the group. The most likely source seems to be in the Condylarthra, perhaps from somewhere near the periptychids. Although the tooth pattern of the lower Paleocene Ectoconus shows many lagomorph similarities, it is already too advanced to have given rise to the lagomorphs.
Evolution © 1957 Society for the Study of Evolution