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Overview of Lagomorph Research: What we have learned and what we still need to do

  • Klaus Hackländer
  • Nuno Ferrand
  • Paulo C. Alves

Lagomorphs can today be found on all continents, however, the present worldwide distribution does not reflect the relatively recent geographical expansion. The vast palaeontological data shows that lagomorphs are indeed an ancient taxonomic group and probably had (and still have) a great ecological importance. Some living genera lack fossil records, but there are a lot that only have been recorded with fossil data (Lopez-Martinez 2008, this book). It shows a large dynamic process in lagomorph evolution and morphological proximity among several lagomorph species. This complexity has resulted in intensive discussions among palaeontologists up to today (e.g. Erbajeva 2005; Lopatin and Averianov 2006). However, there are still some important open questions, such as: when and where does the common ancestral lagomorph appear, in Asia or America? Did the main lagomorph groups of ochotonids and leporids evolve independently? Why are there important time lags between the first arrival and definitive settlement in some areas, e.g. Europe? How can we solve some of the taxonomic uncertainties in the fossil data of some groups, e.g. Lepus? What is the closest taxonomic group to lagomorphs; and how can we calibrate the molecular data with paleontological data?

Keywords

Oryctolagus Cuniculus Brown Hare European Rabbit European Hare Fossil Data 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Klaus Hackländer
    • Nuno Ferrand
      • 1
    • Paulo C. Alves
      • 1
    1. 1.CIBIO, Centro de Investigação em Biodiversidade e Recursos Genéticos, and Departamento de Zoologia e AntropologiaUniversidade do PortoVairãoPortugal

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