Oryctolagus is a genus of lagomorph that today contains the European rabbit and its descendant, the domestic rabbit, as well as several fossil species.

Temporal range: 6.5–0 Ma Late MioceneRecent
Junges Wildkaninchen 2011.JPG
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Lagomorpha
Family: Leporidae
Genus: Oryctolagus
Lilljeborg, 1873
Type species
Lepus cuniculus

1 living, several extinct (see text)

The generic name derives from Ancient Greek ὀρυκτός (oryktos, “dug up”) and λαγώς (lagōs, “hare”).[1]


Oryctolagus first appeared at the end of the Miocene, around 6.5 MYA.[2] Fossil remains from the middle Pliocene led to the recognition of two species, Oryctolagus lacosti in southern France and northwestern Italy and Oryctolagus laynensis in the Iberian Peninsula. This latter form is thought to be the origin of the extant species.[3]


Lower jaw of O. lacosti.


  1. ^ "Naming the living world". January 16, 1962 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Lopez-Martinez, N. "Revision sistematica y biostratigrafica de los lagomorphos (Mammalia) del neogeno y cuaternario de España". Memorias del Museo Paleontologico de la Universidad de Zaragoza. Disputacion General de Aragon.
  3. ^ Branco, M.; Ferrand, N.; Monnerot, M. (2000). "Phylogeography of the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in the Iberian Peninsula inferred from RFLP analysis of the cytochrome b gene". Heredity. 85 (4): 307–317. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2540.2000.00756.x. PMID 11122408. S2CID 27568564.