Evolution and systematics

The gundis (family Ctenodactylidae) are usually classified within the suborder Hystricomorpha but they may have affinities with the Paramyids from the Eocene and, as the sciurid rodents, may also be descended from the Paramyids. The gundis could perhaps be placed in a separate superfamily (Ctenodactyloidea) within the Sciuromorpha (where they are included here) rather than the Hystricomorpha.

The family contains five species in four genera: Pectinator, Felovia, Massoutiera, and Ctenodactylus.

Hartenberger, in 1985, concluded that the Ctenodactyli-dae might be one of the oldest rodent families, having diverged from other rodent taxa in the early Eocene. Molecular data analysis of amino acid myoglobin sequences performed by Beintema et al. in 1991 provided supporting evidence for the hsytricognathous rodents and the Ctenodactylidae being early offshoots of the order Rodentia, although it proved impossible to decide whether they share a common ancestor.

The earliest fossils assigned to the Ctenodactylidae date from the middle Eocene of Asia. There are also Oligocene remains from central Asia and Miocene and Pleistocene re mains from Asia, Sardinia, Sicily, and North Africa. The four living genera originated in Africa, where they are known only from the Recent period.

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