Family Argyrolagidae

This family consists of animals very similar to the kangaroo rats and jerboas of today, but are completely unrelated to them. Like such rodents they may have lived in deserts and been mostly nocturnal animals. They would have moved swiftly over the open ground by a series of prodigious leaps, and fed on the shoots and roots of desert plants.

name: Argyrolagus time: Late Miocene to Late Pliocene locality: South America (Patagonia) size: 16 in/40 cm long

Just like modern kangaroo rats and other desert rodents (of which it is no relation), Argyrolagus moved quickly over open country on its slim 2'toed hindlegs, balanced by its long heavy tail. The head was somewhat rodentlike, but it had a pointed snout. Enormous eye sockets, which suggest that the animal foraged only at night, were situated far back in the skull. The teeth suggest that it ate desert plants.

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