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GALLERY: Heteromyidae

There are about fifty-nine members of the family Heteromyidae divided among six genera. They are all small rodents, the largest being the giant kangaroo rat (Dipodomys ingens) with a body length of 15 cm (6 in) and a tail a little longer than this. In many species the tail is tufted and is mainly used for balance. Other adaptations include partially fused vertebrae in the neck, short fore limbs and much enlarged bullae (bubble-shaped bones in the skull). The skulls vary widely across the group but they are all thin and papery and do not have the robust cranial crests and ridges found on the skulls of members of the family Geomyidae. The skull has other peculiarities. There is an extra hole that penetrates the rostrum, distinctive occluded teeth and the masseter muscle, which moves the lower jaw, is set far forward on the snout, an arrangement found in squirrels, beavers, pocket gophers, heteromyids and a few other groups. The dental formula is 1. 0. 1. 31. 0. 1. 3 × 2 = 20 teeth in total. In the kangaroo rats, the teeth continue to grow all the time, being worn away as the animal chews. The molars have two-lobed cusps. The upper incisors are grooved and the enamel on the molars is quickly worn away by chewing leaving the dentine exposed. In the kangaroo rats they are unrooted but in the pocket mice they have roots.

A kangaroo mouse is either one of the two species of jumping mouse ( genus Microdipodops ) native to the deserts of the southwestern United States , predominantly found in the state of Nevada . The name " kangaroo mouse" refers to the species' extraordinary jumping ability, as well as its habit of bipedal locomotion. The two species are:

Cheek pouches are pockets on both sides of the head of some mammals between the jaw and the cheek. They can be found on mammals including the platypus , some rodents , and most monkeys , [1] [2] as well as the marsupial koala . [3] The cheek pouches of chipmunks can reach the size of their body when full.

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