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A Guide to Rodent Phylogeny

By Albertonykus
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If you'd told me that my first spiritual successor to The Cartoon Guide to Vertebrate Evolution would be about rodents, I wouldn't have believed you either. However, between Rodent Week on Twitter and a secret project* I've been working on, I've had rodents on my mind a lot lately.

*No longer a secret.

This diagram covers most extant rodent lineages, though I left out a few "minor" groups (usually consisting only of a few poorly-studied species). Nothing is to scale (except the capybara and guinea pig, roughly). Despite accounting for about 40% of extant mammalian species, rodent diversity frequently goes underappreciated, but I think many species are ecologically and evolutionarily very interesting... for mammals, at least.

To address the inevitable "Which group will you cover next?" and "Will you do X group?" questions, it's all up in the air for now. I made this very much as a spur-of-the-moment thing; whatever is next in the series (if anything) will likely be borne out of similarly fortuitous circumstances.
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© 2017 - 2021 Albertonykus
anonymous's avatar
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missagia's avatar
“‘Parallelism, parallelism, more parallelism and still more parallelism’ is the evolutionary motto of the rodents.” Wood, 1935 :)
Theriaetos's avatar
Wow! The amount of convergent evolution is striking!
mynameisnotdave23's avatar
When you're entire family is dissed because of two individuals. 
Albertonykus's avatar
Ha, pretty much!
Dontknowwhattodraw94's avatar
Interesting to see how they are all related to each other. 
Dennonyx's avatar
Amazing work.  I don't like when people treat rodents as all equals. There are enormous differences among them, also ethologically.
Albertonykus's avatar
Thanks, and agreed!
Tigon1Monster's avatar
Are you going to do any extinct ones?
Albertonykus's avatar
Extinct rodents? The problem is the rodent fossil record is mostly jaws and teeth. Exceptions exist, of course, but including only taxa known from decent body fossils likely wouldn't give a very good account of their diversity.
Tigon1Monster's avatar
What about the Majorcan giant dormouse?
Albertonykus's avatar
Like I said, "exceptions exist". ;)
Tigon1Monster's avatar
You think you could draw those like this?
Albertonykus's avatar
Could I? Probably. Would I? Eh. Never say never, but I have no immediate plans to do so.
Tigon1Monster's avatar
Okay. Just Asking.
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