If I asked you to think of a mammal, images of lions, elephants, gorillas, and other large, charismatic species might pop into your head. But statistically, you should be thinking about rodents. Rodents make up over 40 percent of all mammal species and represent one of the most diverse mammalian groups, ranging from the burrowing naked mole rat to the ecosystem shaping American beaver.
The diversification of rodents is one of the most striking events in mammal evolution, due to their large number of species and diverse ecological roles. In the past, scientists investigated how various evolutionary processes, like new physical features and behaviors that allow rodents to use the environment in novel ways and coexist with other species, may have led to the rapid radiation of rodent species. But there is still a lack of detailed information on the ecological preferences, behavior and anatomy of most wild rodent species, which prevents us from fully understanding why rodents became so diverse in the first place.
Article Source: Burke Museum