History of the Capture and Domestication of the Syrian Golden Hamster (Mesocricetus auratus Waterhouse)

  • Michael R. Murphy


In most research involving Syrian golden hamsters, the species is used as an animal model or “subject” and as such is totally unidimensional. There is no consideration of its evolution, of its domestication history, or of its ecology and ethology; nor is there any obvious need for these factors to be considered. We know that the hamster comes from the breeder, or comes from a cage, and that is enough. This situation was indeed the way in which I first encountered the hamster, but I soon found the relationship to be incomplete. My search for the real hamster began after my first talk at a scientific convention when I was “informed” by a member of the audience that the hamster was a cross between a rat and a guinea pig, and although there were many doubts expressed, neither I nor any other of those present were confident enough to challenge this absurd hybrid notion.


Syrian Hamster Golden Hamster British Museum Rockefeller Foundation Syrian Golden Hamster 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael R. Murphy
    • 1
  1. 1.System Research LaboratoriesBrooks Air Force BaseSan AntonioUSA

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