In habits the animal was cursorial and herbivorous, or possibly carnivorous.
Have become, or are transforming themselves into, absolutely cursorial forms; some members of one group live entirely on seeds, while others have become fierce fishers, and so forth.
They were, however, essentially marsh-dwelling animals, and exhibit no tendency to the cursorial type of limb so characteristic of the horse-line.
As instances of such combinations, some of the (probably herbivorous) Eocene monkeys with arboreal limbs have teeth so difficult to distinguish from those of the herbivorous ground-living Eocene horses with cursorial limbs that at first in France and also in America they were both classed with the hoofed animals.
Indeed, despite the fact that they present much diversity of habit - some being arboreal, as the squirrels, many of which are provided with expansions of skin or parachutes on which they glide from tree to tree; some cursorial, as the hares; others jumpers, as the jerboas; others fossorial, as the mole-rats; and others aquatic, as the beavers and waterrats - no important structural modifications are correlated with such diversity of habit.
There are generally nineteen dorso-lumbar vertebrae (thirteen thoracic and six lumbar), the form of which varies in different genera; in the cursorial and leaping species the lumbar transverse processes are generally very long, and in the hares there are large compressed inferior spines, or hypapophyses.
Those modifications most noticeable in the case of cursorial types may be briefly mentioned as examples.