Chinchilla rat

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Chinchilla rats
Temporal range: Late Miocene–Recent
Abrocoma bennettii.png
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Parvorder: Caviomorpha
Family: Abrocomidae
Miller and Gidley, 1918


Chinchilla rats or chinchillones are members of the family Abrocomidae. This family has few members compared to most rodent families, with only nine known living species. They resemble chinchillas in appearance, with a similar soft fur and silvery-grey color, but have a body structure more like a short-tailed rat. They are social, tunnel-dwelling animals, and live in the Andes Mountains of South America. They are probably herbivorous, although this is not clear.[1]

They can be described as medium-sized. Stiff hairs project over the three middle digits of the rear feet. Their massive skulls narrow in the facial areas.[2] Some molecular work[3] suggests that, despite their appearance, they may be more closely related to octodontoids such as degus, nutria, and tuco-tucos than they are to chinchillas and viscachas.


The family name is derived from the Ancient Greek word ἁβροκόμης (habrokomēs, "with delicate hair"). The word ἁβρός (habros) means "delicate, graceful" and the word κόμη (komē) means "hair".



  1. ^ Bishop, Ian (1984). Macdonald, D. (ed.). The Encyclopedia of Mammals. New York: Facts on File. p. 701. ISBN 0-87196-871-1.
  2. ^ Allaby, Michael. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Zoology. pg 1. Oxford University Press. New York. 1992.
  3. ^ Huchon, D. and E. J. P. Douzery (2001). "From the Old World to the New World: a molecular chronicle of the phylogeny and biogeography of hystricognath rodents". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 20 (2): 238–251. doi:10.1006/mpev.2001.0961. PMID 11476632.
  • Braun, J. K. and M. A. Mares. 2002. Systematics of the Abrocoma cinerea species complex (Rodentia: Abrocomidae), with a description of a new species of Abrocoma. Journal of Mammalogy, 83:1-19.
  • Emmons, L. H. 1999. A new genus and species of abrocomid rodent from Peru (Rodentia: Abrocomidae). American Museum Novitas, 3279:1-14.

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