Blythe’s Panther   Leave a comment

This month, scientists announced the discovery Panthera blytheae, the oldest member of the big cat family. The modern big cats include tigers, lions, jaguars, leopards, and, by most accounts, snow leopards. It is snow leopards that Blythe’s panther, as it is know, is most closely related to. As you may recall, snow leopards make their home in Asia, which is where Blythe’s panther was discovered (Tibet, to be exact). This puts the origin of modern big cats in Asia, rather than Africa, as was previously thought.

Fossils of seven individuals have been found, dating back to around five million years ago. In contrast, saber-toothed cats such as smilodon, go back around two-and-a-half million years ago.

This is a fascinating find, and helps clarify how the cat family evolved. I’m particularly interested, as it now shows a relative of one of my favorite cats, the snow leopard.


Posted 2013-11-22 by Mr. Guilt in cats, feline conservation, Interesting

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