Evolution of Cats - Feline Timeline
Posted by Rosalie Galvez on December 4th, 2020
Without DNA studies, it was impossible to track and study the evolution of cats because all of the ancestors of cats became fossils.
DNA studies and the technologies of genetics has helped a lot in the discoveries of the evolutionary journey of cats.
Researchers have used a "molecular clock analysis" that exactly shows how long ago the species have diverged from one another. The ancestors of the modern domestic cat were the last to appear approximately 3.4 million years ago.
Evolution is the process of gradual development. The researchers have observed that as the sea levels rose and fell it affected the migration of cats. When the sea levels were low the cats tend to migrate more to different continents and when the sea levels were high it caused the isolation of cats. That's how the new species of cats developed because of the rising and falling of the sea levels.
With each migration, the cats have evolved and changed in different sizes, colors, and other features
The cats are thought to be evolved from Miacid.
It lived 60 million years ago. It was a carnivore. All the carnivores are thought to be evolved from Miacid. It was a short-legged and long-bodied animal.
It was the first descended of Miacid and it resembles the most with the modern cat. It had cat-like incisor teeth.
It lived 30 million years ago. It can claim the title of the first true cat. It is the first known member of the Felidae family that includes all the cats (big, small, living, extinct).
It lived approximately 20 million years ago. It was a short-legged animal and it had a slender like body.
Approximately 6 to 10 million years ago Pseudaelurus evolved and branched into 4 subfamilies which are explained below
1. Machairodontinae family: it consists of a saber-toothed cat
An example is smilodon extinct
2. Pantherinea family: it consists of modern-day cats (lion, tiger, leopard)
3. Felinae family: it consists of small domestic cats
4. Aciniychinae family: it consists modern-day cheetah
The living cats (feline family) are divided into 37 different species around the world that are listed below with their examples
Example: Panthera leo
Example: Panthera pardus
Example: Panthera onca
Example: Panthera tigris
Example: Panthera uncia
Example: Neofelis nebulosa
Bornean clouded leopard
Example: Neofelis diardi
Asian golden cat
Example: Pardofelis temmincki
Bornean bay cat
Example: Pardofelis badia
Example: Pardofelis marmorata
Example: Caracal caracal
African golden cat
Example: Caracal aurata
Example: Caracal serval
Example: Leopardus geoffroyi
Example: Leopardus guigna
Example: Leopardus tigrinus
Andean mountain cat
Example: Leopardus jacobita
Example: Leopardus colocolo
Example: Leopardus wiedii
Example: Leopardus pardalis
Example: Lynx pardina
Example: Lynx lynx
Example: Lynx canadensis
Example: Lynx rufus
Example: Puma concolor
Example: Puma yaguarondi
Example: Acinonyx jubatus
Asian leopard cat
Example: Prionailurus bengalensis
Example: Prionailurus viverrina
Example: Prionailurus planiceps
Example: Prionailurus rubiginosus
Example: Otocolobus manul
Example: Felis catus
Example: Felis silvestris
Example: Felis margarita
Example: Felis nigripes
Example: Felis chaus
In 1997, Warren E. Johnson and Stephan O'Brien researched on 37 living species of cats or Feline family and divided them into 8 lineages
This lineage has large to medium-sized cats weighing approximately 15 to 150 kilograms. They are the most dominant cats around the world. They are mostly called wild or roaring cats. They have an incomplete ossified hyoid bone that allows them to roar but two species of this lineage are not able to roar (Bornean clouded leopard and clouded leopard). Lion, tiger, jaguar, leopard, and snow leopard are included in this lineage
The cats of this lineage are of medium size ranging from 5 to 25 kilograms. They are restricted to Africa. They were typically considered as a group before the genetic analysis made by some researchers
The cats of this lineage are poorly known. Before the proper research, it was not considered as a separate group by the taxonomists. The cats of this group range in size from small to medium weighing from 2 to 16 kilograms. The species of this group are restricted to the habitat of forests in Southeast Asia
The cats of this lineage have sizes ranging from small to medium size (1.5 to 16 kilograms). They have a broad range of habitats but they are mostly populated in Central and South America. It has different chromosome number from other members of the Felidae family (i.e it has 36 number of chromosome while other species have 38)
The species of this lineage are of medium size weighing from 6 to 20 kilograms. They are known from their particular feature that is they have short tails and pointed ears. They are habitant in temperate climates of North America and Eurasia. Except for the Iberian lynx, most of the species are very resourceful because of their fur. Bobcat, Eurasian lynx, and Canada lynx are some of the species of this lineage
This lineage has a diverse group of cats ranging from small jaguarundi (3 to 10 kilograms) to large African cheetah (21 to 65 kilograms). They are originated in North America but they are widely spread across 4 continents. They are locally common and legally hunted in their regions.
They are small cats ranging from 2 to 12 kilograms. They are mostly inhabitants of Asia. The Asian leopard cat is most common in Asia.
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About the AuthorRosalie Galvez
Joined: October 6th, 2020
Articles Posted: 54
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