The Evolution of Cats

Where cats came from

What is Evolution?

Evolution is a process when a species changes, and develops in order to adapt to their environment. In the process of evolution, a species may evolve so much, that it becomes a whole different species. This has most scientists believing that all living organisms, humans, dogs, chimps, etc. share one common ancestor Darwin came up with this idea when he created his theory of natural selection. Natural selection is species interbreeding in order to produce stong offspring, that will be able to continue reproducing. There are four steps in natural selection:

  1. Over-production
  2. Inherited Variation
  3. Struggle to Survive
  4. Successful Reproduction

The Cat that we know

Cats. You see them all the time in homes, or out looking for food on the street, and you just pass them by, but do you ever wonder where they came from? Cats actually have many relatives, but scientists believe that all cats and relatives of the cat come from one common ancestor.
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The Cat's Family

The average house cat is part of the Felidae species. In this species, there are 2 living subfamilies. Pantherinae consists of jaguars, lions, leopards, and tigers, and Felinae consists of cougars, cheetahs, lynxes, ocelots, and house cats.Scientists believe that all these animals are related to the cat due to their genetic makeup, and just that fact that they look so similar. Mostly the nose, and head shape. There is on subfamily however, that does not roam the earth anymore. That is the Machairodontinae. Machairodontinae consists of the Smilodon, AKA the Saber Toothed Tiger.

The Long Lost Subfamily

The Smilodon is known for its canines. Canines are the two pointy teeth at each side of its upper gum. Paleontologists and scientists estimate that it lived in the Pleistocene epoch which was about 2.5 million years ago-10,000 years ago. Even though smilodon lived quite a long time ago, that doesn’t mean that that was the original cat.

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Cat's True Ancestor?

Scientists say that all modern carnivorans, including cats, evolved from miacoidea which existed approximately 66 to 33 million years ago. Miacoidea species led to the rise of Proailurus (meaning “first cat”), which appeared about 30 million years ago, and is generally considered the first “true cat.”

The Cat Gap

There is a period of time called the “cat gap” in the fossil record, about 25 to 18.5 million years ago, where there were few cat or cat-like fossils found in North America. So if you look for a cat fossil record, most likely, it will say that it is incomplete.

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How Evolution works


In conclusion, we find cats in our houses, in trees (well, that's mostly in movies), and almost every where we look, but if we take a second to look a little deeper into their history, we'll find that they have a pretty complex history, that we haven't completely figured out yet.