Pleistocene lagomorphs of Eurasia
Deinsea , Volume 8 - Issue 1 p. 1- 14
In the Pleistocene of Eurasia three species of Prolagidae, 17 species of Ochotonidae and 16 species of Leporidae are known. The species diversity of lagomorphs gradually increased during the Pleistocene and in the late Pleistocene was the same as Recent. Some relict genera became extinct during the early Pleistocene (Pliopentalagus, Alilepus), others in the Middle Pleistocene (Ochotonoides, Hypolagus and Sericolagus). At least two lagomorph species became extinct during the Holocene (P rolagus sard us and Ochotona transcaucasica). The Pleistocene was not a critical period in the evolution of Lagomorpha. The extinction was caused by global cooling and was restricted to relict taxa mostly. During the Pleistocene intensive speciation took place in the genera Ochotona, Oryctolagus and Lepus in the Old World, and Sylvilagus in the New World. The Recent time is the period of flourishing and biological progress of phylogenetically young groups of lagomorphs (Ochotona, Leporinae), which started in the late Pliocene and continued during all the Pleistocene.