Rodents are mammals of the order Rodentia, which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are rodents, they are the most diversified mammalian order and live in a variety of terrestrial habitats, including human-made environments. Species can be fossorial, or semiaquatic. Well-known rodents include mice, squirrels, prairie dogs, chinchillas, beavers, guinea pigs, hamsters and capybaras. Rabbits and pikas, whose incisors grow continually, were once included with them, but are now considered to be in a separate order, the Lagomorpha. Nonetheless and Lagomorpha are sister groups, sharing a single common ancestor and forming the clade of Glires. Most rodents are small animals with robust bodies, short limbs, long tails, they use their sharp incisors to gnaw food, excavate burrows, defend themselves. Most eat seeds or other plant material, they tend to be social animals and many species live in societies with complex ways of communicating with each other.

Mating among rodents can vary from monogamy, to polygyny, to promiscuity. Many have litters of altricial young, while others are precocial at birth; the rodent fossil record dates back to the Paleocene on the supercontinent of Laurasia. Rodents diversified in the Eocene, as they spread across continents, sometimes crossing oceans. Rodents reached both South America and Madagascar from Africa and were the only terrestrial placental mammals to reach and colonize Australia. Rodents have been used as food, for clothing, as pets, as laboratory animals in research; some species, in particular, the brown rat, the black rat, the house mouse, are serious pests and spoiling food stored by humans and spreading diseases. Accidentally introduced species of rodents are considered to be invasive and have caused the extinction of numerous species, such as island birds isolated from land-based predators; the distinguishing feature of the rodents is their pairs of continuously growing, razor-sharp, open-rooted incisors.

These incisors little enamel on the back. Because they do not stop growing, the animal must continue to wear them down so that they do not reach and pierce the skull; as the incisors grind against each other, the softer dentine on the rear of the teeth wears away, leaving the sharp enamel edge shaped like the blade of a chisel. Most species have up to 22 teeth with no canines or anterior premolars. A gap, or diastema, occurs between the cheek teeth in most species; this allows rodents to suck in their cheeks or lips to shield their mouth and throat from wood shavings and other inedible material, discarding this waste from the sides of their mouths. Chinchillas and guinea pigs have a high-fiber diet. In many species, the molars are large, intricately structured, cusped or ridged. Rodent molars are well equipped to grind food into small particles; the jaw musculature is strong. The lower jaw is pulled backwards during chewing. Rodent groups differ in the arrangement of the jaw muscles and associated skull structures, both from other mammals and amongst themselves.

The Sciuromorpha, such as the eastern grey squirrel, have a large deep masseter, making them efficient at biting with the incisors. The Myomorpha, such as the brown rat, have enlarged temporalis muscles, making them able to chew powerfully with their molars; the Hystricomorpha, such as the guinea pig, have larger superficial masseter muscles and smaller deep masseter muscles than rats or squirrels making them less efficient at biting with the incisors, but their enlarged internal pterygoid muscles may allow them to move the jaw further sideways when chewing. The cheek pouch is a specific morphological feature used for storing food and is evident in particular subgroups of rodents like kangaroo rats, hamsters and gophers which have two bags that may range from the mouth to the front of the shoulders. True mice and rats do not contain this structure but their cheeks are elastic due to a high degree of musculature and innervation in the region. While the largest species, the capybara, can weigh as much as 66 kg, most rodents weigh less than 100 g.

The smallest rodent is the Baluchistan pygmy jerboa, which averages only 4.4 cm in head and body length, with adult females weighing only 3.75 g. Rodents have wide-ranging morphologies, but have squat bodies and short limbs; the fore limbs have five digits, including an opposable thumb, while the hind limbs have three to five digits. The elbow gives the forearms great flexibility; the majority of species are plantigrade, walking on both the palms and soles of their feet, have claw-like nails. The nails of burrowing species tend to be long and strong, while arboreal rodents have shorter, sharper nails. Rodent species use a wide variety of methods of locomotion including quadrupedal walking, burrowing, bipedal hopping and gliding. Scaly-tailed squirrels and flying squirrels, although not related, can both glide from tree to tree using parachute-like membranes that stretch from the fore to the hind limbs; the agouti is antelope-like, being digitigrade and having hoof-like nails. The majority of rodents have tails, which can be of many sizes.

Some tails are prehensi

Aravella Simotas

Aravella Simotas is an American politician and a member of the Democratic Party, who represents parts of western Queens, including Astoria and parts of Long Island City in the New York State Assembly. She is the first woman elected to office from her district. Simotas was born in Rhodesia, she immigrated to the United States from Greece and settled in Astoria with her parents and brother when she was an infant. She graduated from P. S. 17, Junior H. S. 126, William C. Bryant High School, she received a B. A, degree from Fordham University in 1999, followed by a J. D. degree from the Fordham University School of Law in 2002. During law school, she was the managing editor at the Fordham Environmental Law Journal. Simotas began her career in public service as a district representative for Speaker of the New York City Council, Peter Vallone Sr. and for New York City Council member Peter Vallone Jr. While at law school, she worked at the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, where she developed a passion for environmental advocacy.

After law school, Simotas served as a law clerk at the United States Court of International Trade. She practiced law at Bickel & Brewer and worked with the Bickel & Brewer Storefront, "an organization that provides legal representation to the economically challenged."Simotas served as a member of the Queens Community Planning Board 1 and the United Community Civic Association. Simotas was first elected to office in 2010, she received the Democratic Party nomination and ran unopposed in the November 2, 2010 general election. Simotas was unopposed in the 2012 Democratic primary. In the general election, she ran on both the Democratic and Working Families Party lines, was opposed by Republican Julia Haitch. According to preliminary results collected by the Daily News, Simotas won re-election to the State Assembly, for the new District 36, in the general election on November 6, 2012 with 84% of the vote, she was endorsed by a labor union representing health care workers. She was endorsed by the Empire State Pride Agenda, an LGBT advocacy group, in both her 2010 and 2012 races.

Simotas's Committee Assignments as of 2018 included: Chair, Committee on Ethics and Guidance Co-Chair, Legislative Ethics Commission Insurance Judiciary Ways and Means Energy Simotas was appointed Chair of the Assembly's Ethics and Guidance Committee in 2017. Under her leadership, the Committee updated the Assembly's policy prohibiting harassment and discrimination to require expedited investigations and expand the types of conduct violating the policy. From 2014-2017, Simotas served as Chair of the Assembly's Task Force on Women's Issues. In 2012, Simotas introduced the "Rape is Rape" bill to expand the definition of rape in New York State law to include forced anal and oral sexual contact; the bill has passed in the Assembly every year since 2013. Simotas passed legislation in 2016 to combat the rape kit backlog by mandating timely processing and testing of rape kits. In 2017, she introduced legislation to establish a Sexual Assault Survivors' Bill of Rights and prevent premature destruction of evidence.

The bill was signed into law in 2018. In 2019, the legislature passed Simotas' bill to extend New York's five-year statute of limitations for second and third degree rape to 20 years and 10 years respectively. Simotas authored a package of bills aimed at strengthening protections against sexual harassment in the workplace and pushed the legislature to hold the first public hearings on the subject in 27 years. In June, 2019, the legislature passed Simotas' comprehensive bill to eliminate the severe or pervasive standard for harassment claims, extend the time period for employees to file complaints, hold employers accountable for harassment committed by supervisors, establish protections for workers who sign non-disclosure agreements. Simotas is sponsoring a series of bills to combat sexual abuse in medical settings; the bills would require health care providers to undergo background checks as a condition of licensure, expand the information about patients' rights and reporting options available online, require doctors who are disciplined for misconduct to notify their patients.

In 2015, legislation introduced by Simotas made New York the first state in the country to designate pregnancy as a qualifying event to enroll in health insurance through the state health exchange. In 2016, Simotas introduced the Fair Access to Fertility Treatment Act to require insurers to cover in vitro fertilization, as well as fertility preservation services for cancer patients. Provisions of Simotas' proposal were enacted as part of the 2019-2020 state budget. Simotas introduced legislation to establish a Newborn Health and Safe Sleep Pilot Program to combat infant mortality by distributing "baby boxes", essential care items and educational materials to new parents in high risk areas; the bill was signed into law in October 2017. Simotas co-sponsors the New York Health Act to establish a single-payer system to provide universal, comprehensive health care to all New Yorkers. Simotas voted in favor of marriage equality in New York, which she termed "my proudest moment as a legislator and, frankly, as a person...."

Simotas had been a lead sponsor of Assembly Bill A08354, which passed the Assembly by an 80–63 vote passed the Senate, was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo. Since she first took office, Simotas supported the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, for which she was a "multi-sponsor". Simotas is the primary sponsor of legislation to establish an LGBT Long-Term Care Facility Residents Bill of Rights and prohibit discrimination against transgender parents in custody cases. Simotas earned a perfect score on the New York League of Conservation Voters

Robert Cray

Robert William Cray is an American blues guitarist and singer. He won five Grammy Awards. Robert Cray was born on August 1, 1953, in Columbus, while his father was stationed at Fort Benning. Cray's musical beginnings go back to when he was a student at Denbigh High School in Newport News, Virginia. While there, he played in The One-Way Street, his family settled in the Tacoma, area. There, he attended Lakes High School in Washington. By the age of twenty, Cray had seen his heroes Albert Collins, Freddie King and Muddy Waters in concert and decided to form his own band. In the late 1970s he lived in Eugene, where he formed the Robert Cray Band and collaborated with Curtis Salgado in the Cray-Hawks. In the 1978 film National Lampoon's Animal House, Cray was the uncredited bassist in the house party band Otis Day and the Knights. Cray released the album Who's Been Talkin' on Tomato Records in 1980. Two albums on HighTone Records in the mid-1980s, Bad Influence and False Accusations, were moderately successful in the United States and in Europe, where he was building a reputation as a live artist.

Cray was signed to Mercury Records and in 1986 released his fourth album, Strong Persuader, produced by Dennis Walker, which received a Grammy Award, while the crossover single "Smokin' Gun" gave him wider appeal and name recognition. Under the pseudonym "Night Train Clemons", he recorded with Ted Hawkins in 1986, he was invited by Keith Richards to join the backing band for Chuck Berry in the 1987 film, Chuck Berry: Hail! Hail! Rock'N' Roll, directed by Taylor Hackford. By now, Cray was an opening act for such major stars as Eric Clapton and sold out larger venues as a solo artist. Cray has played Fender guitars and there are two signature Robert Cray Stratocasters models available from Fender; the Robert Cray Custom Shop Stratocaster is made in the U. S. in the Fender custom shop and is identical to the guitars that Cray plays, while the Robert Cray Standard Stratocaster is a less-expensive model made in Fender's Ensenada, Mexico plant. Cray had the opportunity to play alongside John Lee Hooker on his album Boom Boom, playing the guitar solo in the song "Same Old Blues Again".

He is featured on the Hooker album, The Healer. The entire Robert Cray Band backs Hooker on the title track of Hooker's 1992 album Mr. Lucky, where Cray plays lead guitar and banters with Hooker throughout the song. Cray played with Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy, Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan at the Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy, performing "Sweet Home Chicago"; this was Stevie Ray Vaughan's final performance before he died in a helicopter accident that night. Cray was invited to play at the "Guitar Legends" concerts in Seville, Spain at the 1992 Expo, where he played a signature track, "Phone Booth". Albert Collins was on the bill on this blues night of the "Legends" gigs. Cray continues to tour, he appeared at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, supported Eric Clapton on his 2006-2007 world tour. In Fargo, North Dakota, he joined Clapton on backup guitar for the Cream song "Crossroads". In 2011, Cray was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame and received the Americana Music Lifetime Achievement Award for Performance in 2017.

Robert Cray – guitar, vocals Les Falconer – drums Dover Weinberg – keyboards Richard Cousinsbass guitar Peter Boe – keyboards Al Cheztrumpet Kevin Hayes – drums Wayne Jackson – trumpet Tim Kaihatsu – guitar Andrew Lovesaxophone Ed Manion – saxophone Rocky Manzanaresharp Tom Murphy – drums David Olson – drums Mark Pender – trumpet Jimmy Pugh – keyboards Warren Rand – alto saxophone Curtis Salgado – harp Karl Sevareid – bass David Stewart – keyboards Mike Vannice – saxophone Terence F Clark - drums Robert Cray at Allmusic