Evolution and systematics

The earliest known fossil of the Pedetidae was recorded from the early Miocene at Elizabethfeld in Namibia as Para-pedetes namaquensis while a larger form of the modern spring-hare (Megapedetes) appeared later in the Miocene in East Africa. The fossil record may be traced via the early Pliocene site at Taung (P. gracilis) in the northwestern Cape Province of South Africa (where notable australopithecine remains were discovered) to Pleistocene deposits in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe (as Pedetes capensis).

Historical confusion about its taxonomic position, brought about in part by a lack of substantive palaeontlogical records, saw Pedetes placed initially in a subfamily of jerboas (Dipodi-dae). The family Pedetidae was positioned subsequently in the suborder Hystricomorpha before its reclassification within the suborder Sciurognathi. In the 1920s, the "Pedetini" were placed by some taxonomists in the family Anomaluridae considered by others to be part of the superfamily Anom-aluroidea. The family Pedetidae has now been returned to the suborder Sciurognathi.

The taxonomy for this species is Yerbua capensis (Forster, 1778), Cape of Good Hope, South Africa.

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