Evolution and systematics

The Capromyidae represents a Caribbean radiation of the south and central American Hystricognath rodents closely allied to the Myocastoridae (coypu) and Echimyidae (spiny rats). Some subfamilies have been varyingly classified across all three families and the Myocastoridae is still included within the Capromyidae by some authorities.

Extensive extinction has occurred within this family and a number of additional species are known from Holocene fossil deposits. The exact extinction date of many is unclear and the possibility exists that some species believed to be extinct may still exist on small islands within the Caribbean.

The number of species is difficult to accurately assess with so many recent extinctions. Some sources cite as many as 33 species, although some of these are only known as sub-recent fossils. The status and correct taxonomic determination of many species is still unclear and the family is in need of tax-onomic revision.

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