Significance to humans

The guinea pig has been domesticated since 1000 B.C. and, in some areas of Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, is raised for food.

Ancient Incas apparently used the guinea pig in religious sacrifices. Smaller cavies are considered agricultural pests in some regions, and other species can impact grazing areas. Larger cavies are hunted for food and skins.

1. Mountain cavy (Microcavia australis); 2. Cui (Galea musteloides); 3. Rock cavy (Kerodon rupestris); 4. Guinea pig (Cavia aperea); 5. Salt-desert cavy (Pediolagus salinicola); 6. Mara (Dolichotis patagonum). (Illustration by Amanda Humphrey)

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