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The BeaverIts Life and Impact$
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Dietland Muller-Schwarze

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801450105

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801450105.001.0001

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Now and Then

Now and Then

The Species, Including Fossils

(p.2) Chapter 1 Now and Then
The Beaver

Dietland Müller-Schwarze

Cornell University Press

This chapter provides an overview of the evolution of the beaver as a single organism. The beaver is the second largest rodent after the South American capybara. Beavers belong to the family Castoridae in the suborder Sciuromorpha of the order Rodentia. Thy are more closely related to squirrels and marmots than to mouselike rodents (Muridae). Beavers split from their closest living relatives 90–100 million years ago. Two species of beaver live today: the North American Castor canadensis and the Eurasian Castor fier. The two beaver species differ in their number of chromosomes. This chapter discusses the beaver's genetics and geographic range, as well as fossils that illuminate its ancestry.

Keywords:   evolution, beaver, Castoridae, Rodentia, Castor canadensis, Castor fier, genetics, geographic range, fossils, chromosomes

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