In the skull the lachrymal bone is large, the paroccipital process is directed vertically downwards and the tympanic bulla is hollow.
In the skull the tympanic bulla is hollow, the pterygoid fossa shallow and the zygomatic arch slender, with a rudimentary jugal bone.
The infra-orbital foramen is generally narrow, and the tympanic bulla hollow.
The tibia and fibula are united inferiorly, the tympanic bulla is hollow and the infra-orbital foramen narrow.
The third sub-family is that of the Microtinae, or voles, which are distributed all over Europe, Northern Asia and North America, and are characterized by the tympanic bulla of the skull being filled with honey-combed bony tissue, the small size of the infra-orbital foramen, and the deep pterygoid fossa on the palatal aspect.
The Octodontidae, which are exclusively South American, differ from the preceding family by the tympanic bulla being filled with cellular bony tissue, and by the par-occipital process curving beneath it, while the cheek-teeth are almost or completely rootless and composed of parallel plates.
In the Oreodontinae or typical section of the family, which includes several genera nearly allied to Oreodon, the skull is shorter and higher than in the camels, with a swollen brain-case, a preorbital glandpit, the condyle of the lower jaw transversely elongated, the tympanic bulla hollow, and the orbit surrounded by bone.
The three remaining families of the Hystricoidea, of which one is African while the other two are chiefly South American, are very closely allied and often brigaded in a single family group. In the Capromyidae, which includes only the South American and West Indian hutias, the South American coypu and the African cane-rats, the tympanic bulla of the skull is hollow, the par-occipital process straight, the lachrymal small, and the cheekteeth rooted, with deep enamel-folds; the first front toe Leing occasionally absent.