Saturday, 16 November 2013

Wildcats everywhere!

I've always been a huge fan of cats, big and small, and this new finding has gotten me very excited.

A new fossil skull  has been unearthed in the Himalayas, Tibet to be precise. The fossil is believed to be around 4.1-5.95 million years old. The discovery has been published by US and Chinese paleontologists. It was thought that the extinct cat is a relation to the big cats we know and love today, and their territories overlap a little. To show the relation between this fossil cat's skull, and the modern day big predators the species of the extinct cat was named panthera blytheae, where the big cats of today are in a family called pantherinae. 

The skull wasn't the only fossil piece Dr Tseng, Juan Liu and their team discovered; they found over 100 bones deposited along a riverbank. And now all the pieces are undergoing more testing on morphology and genetic ancestors, to give a clearer picture into the mammal behind the bones.

So the next time you look at your little domesticated feline, think about their big wildcat ancestor which was found on the river bank in Tibet and see the wildcat within!

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