Evolution and systematics

Capybaras of today do not differ essentially from those forms of the past. Many Pleistocene rodents, such as capybaras, have probably undergone little change in the past million years. Cenozoic fossils recovered from the Antilles island of Grenada differ from the existing capybara.

There is only one single living genus and species, Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris; some authors consider the smaller form of capybara living in Panama, western Colombia, and northwestern Venezuela (H. isthmius) as a separate species; other consider this form a subspecies, H. h. isthmius.

The taxonomy for this species is Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris (Linnaeus, 1766), Suriname. Other common names include "capivara" in Portuguese and "carpincho" and "chiguire" in Spanish.

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