Posted on

Since the Eocene Epoch, approximately 40 million years ago, when its fossil record was first well-documented, the family Leporidae, which includes hares and rabbits, has remained relatively unchanged. By that time, rabbits had arrived in North America, where they underwent the majority of their development.

By about seven million years ago, during the Miocene Epoch, they had established themselves once more in Asia and had spread to Europe, where they are now distributed.

Leporidae and Ochotonidae (the pikas), the only other family in the order Lagomorpha, are clearly distinct families. Rabbits and hares have a more arched skull morphology, which is linked to the development of bounding locomotion and a relatively upright head posture. There is also evidence of limb elongation and strengthened hind limbs and pelvic girdle.