All about cats

What did cats evolve from

The cat family, the felidae, is the most diverse group of mammals with over 40 subfamilies, 500–600 species and one-hundred and fifty million years of evolution. Cats are mammals which, like all mammals, are in the superorder Laurasiatheria.

Mammals are a diverse order of vertebrates characterised by the presence of milk produced in the mammary glands, the birth of live young, the ability to digest milk after weaning, and the production of milk in the mammary glands.

In addition to mammals, the term ‘mammals’ can also be used to describe any warm-blooded vertebrate, which includes over 200 different species of mammal (and over 1,000 species of birds!). That’s a lot of mammal species.

Where did cats originate from?

The earliest cat remains have been dated to approximately one million years ago. This cat was found in a cave in Georgia, USA. It is thought to have belonged to the species Panthera leo.

Cats evolved as small, furry predators. It is believed that they first evolved in the Miocene period and that they are descendants of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica).

Is the cat family genetically distinct?

Yes. All the cats in the world are different.

The cat family is the most diverse group of mammals with over 40 subfamilies, 500–600 species and one-hundred and fifty million years of evolution. Cats are mammals which, like all mammals, are members of the superorder Laurasiatheria.

In addition to mammals, the term ‘mammals’ can also be used to describe any warm-blooded vertebrate, which includes over 200 different species of mammal (and over 1,000 species of birds!).

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