Cat History

Posted on July 28, 2006  Comments (5)

New cat family tree revealed

The family history of the cat has been notoriously murky in the past, in part because the few discovered cat fossils are very difficult to tell apart.

The international team took a different approach by sampling DNA from living cats. They looked at both mitochondrial DNA – the scrap of DNA within the parts of the cell that generate energy and are passed along the maternal line – and DNA from the X and Y sex chromosomes.

A picture has emerged of a feline ancestor that wandered all over the world, becoming one of the most successful carnivore families.

The ancient ancestors of the 37 species alive today migrated across the globe, eventually settling in all continents except Antarctica, say scientists.

Eight major lineages emerged, including lions, ocelots and domestic cats.

5 Responses to “Cat History”

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    June 28th, 2007 @ 9:32 pm

    “At least five female ancestors from the region gave rise to all the domestic cats alive today, scientists believe. DNA evidence suggests that, apart from accidental cross-breeding, European wildcats are not part of the domestic moggy’s family tree. Neither are the Central Asian wildcat, the Southern African wildcat, or the Chinese desert cat…”

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