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The family of rodents that include kangaroo rats, kangaroo mice and rock pocket mice is the Heteromyidae family. Most heteromyids live in complex burrows within the deserts and grasslands of western North America, though species within the Heteromys and Liomys genera are also found in forests and extend down as far as northern South America. They feed mostly on seeds and other plant parts, which they carry in their cheek pouches

Although they are very different in physical appearance, the closest relatives of the heteromyids are pocket gophers in the Geomyidae family.


Hafner et al. (2007) summarized the molecular and morphological data to date and proposed the following taxonomy:
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