Holarctic Evolution and Dispersal of Squirrels (Rodentia: Sciuridae)

  • Craig C. Black


Members of the rodent family Sciuridae occur on all continents except Australia. Squirrels are one of the few families of mammals to have such a nearly cosmopolitan distribution. However, patterns of dispersal and evolution within the family have only recently come under study (Moore, 1959, 1961; Black, 1963; Gromov eta L, 1965). Recent paleontolegical data (Black, 1963, 1965b, 1966; Bruijn and Mein, 1968; Mein, 1970; Sulimski, 1964) and chromosome studies of living squirrels (see Nadler, 1969; Voronstov and Lyapunova, 1970), taken together with Moore’s (1959) morphological studies and his classification of living squirrels exclusive of flying squirrels, now provide a basis for a reconstruction of “historical processes and events” within the family. Such is the intent of the present paper. Evolution within the Sciuridae and exchange between the Nearctic and Palearctic will be considered for the most part at the generic level. This is done for two reasons: fossil and living genera are more nearly equivalent taxonomic categories; and, too little is known about mid- and late-Pleistocene species of squirrels in Eurasia to allow for discussion of species dispersal in most groups.


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© Meredith Corporation 1972

Authors and Affiliations

  • Craig C. Black
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Systematics and EcologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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