Ailurophile alert! New research into the family tree of your favorite companion animal
A fascinating report about new insights into the family tree of our beloved house pet, the cat. Here's a quote, perhaps not altogether tongue-in-cheek, from the article: the most successful cat of all, even though it has mostly forsaken its predatory heritage: the cat that has induced people to pay for its board and lodging in return for frugal displays of affection.
DNA Offers New Insight Concerning Cat Evolution - New York Times
Researchers have gained a major insight into the evolution of cats by showing how they migrated to new continents and developed new species as sea levels rose and fell.
About nine million years ago - two million years after the cat family first appeared in Asia - these successful predators invaded North America by crossing the Beringian land bridge connecting Siberia and Alaska, a team of geneticists writes in the journal Science today.
Later, several American cat lineages returned to Asia. With each migration, evolutionary forces morphed the pantherlike patriarch of all cats into a rainbow of species, from ocelots and lynxes to leopards, lions and the lineage that led to the most successful cat of all, even though it has mostly forsaken its predatory heritage: the cat that has induced people to pay for its board and lodging in return for frugal displays of affection.