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Temporal range: Middle Pleistocene - Holocene
Cavia aperea
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Rodentia
Family: Caviidae
Subfamily: Caviinae
Genus: Cavia
Pallas, 1766

Cavia aperea
Cavia tschudii
Cavia guianae
Cavia anolaimae
Cavia nana
Cavia porcellus
Cavia fulgida
Cavia magna
Cavia intermedia

Cavia is a genus in the subfamily Caviinae that contains the rodents commonly known as guinea pigs.[1] The best-known species in this genus is the domestic guinea pig, Cavia porcellus, an important meat animal in South America and a common household pet outside South America.

Taxonomic controversy[edit]

Cavia is classified in order Rodentia, although there was a minority belief in the scientific community that evidence from mitochondrial DNA and proteins suggested the Hystricognathi might belong to a different evolutionary offshoot, and therefore a different order.[2] If so, this would be an example of convergent evolution. Other scientists were critical of this hypothesis.[3] This uncertainty is largely of historical interest, as abundant molecular genetic evidence now conclusively supports classification of Cavia as rodents.[4] This evidence includes draft genome sequences of Cavia porcellus and several other rodents (available on-line [5]).



  1. ^ Woods, C.A.; Kilpatrick, C.W. (2005). "Infraorder Hystricognathi". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 1552–1553. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Stiefel, Chana Freeiman (1996). "Family feud - genetic evidence seems to show that guinea pigs are not rodents". Science World. Retrieved 2013-11-14. 
  3. ^ ""Molecular Biology and Evolution," Vol 11, 593-604". Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  4. ^ [1] (and references therein)
  5. ^ "UCSC Genome Browser Gateway". Retrieved 4 April 2017. 
  6. ^ Donnum, Jonathan L. & Salazar-Bravo, Jorge. 2014. "Molecular systematics, taxonomy and biogeography of the genus Cavia (Rodentia: Caviidae)"; Journal of Zoological Systematics and Evolutionary Research 48(4): 376-388.

External links[edit]