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The Behavior of the Laboratory RatA Handbook with Tests$
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Ian Q. Whishaw and Bryan Kolb

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780195162851

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195162851.001.0001

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(p.3) 1 Evolution
The Behavior of the Laboratory Rat

Andrew N. Iwaniuk

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the evolution of the laboratory rat from the origins of rodents in general to the speciation of the genus Rattus. It provides a summary of the evolutionary events leading to R. norvegicus. Because palaeontology, taxonomy, and phylogenetics are intimately related to one another, the chapter is organized in terms of the taxonomy of R. norvegicus. Evolutionary relationships and palaeontological history are discussed with reference to other groups of the same taxonomic rank. For example, the order Rodentia is placed in the context of other mammalian orders. Summarizing the evolutionary history of R. norvegicus provides a basic understanding of how the species has evolved that may be instructive in interpreting the results of behavioral experimentation and/or comparative analyses.

Keywords:   Rattus norvegicus, laboratory rats, evolutionary events, taxonomy, evolutionary history

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