The Beginning of the Big Cats Essay

The Beginning of the Big Cats Essay

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What do we really know about the first of the big cats? Big cats or cats in general are solitary animals, so finding any fossils, let alone a well preserved fossil is like finding a needle in a hay stack. I believe that it is important for us to take a look back in time so we can try and see what pressures the ancient big cats faced, to prevent making some of the same mistakes that caused the extinction of many of the ancient big cats. Today many of the big cats of Central Asia, South America, and Africa are facing extinction due to humans impeding onto their territory and destroying the necessary habitat for them to survive.
The history of the cat family Felidae has its origins that can be traced back to the late Eocene Epoch about thirty-seven millions years ago. The cats began to evolve long before most of the other mammals were even recognizable as species. Big cats belong to two main subfamilies Pantherinae and Felinae. The Felinae’s are among some of the younger of the big cat groups appearing in Eurasia about ten million years ago. The slightly smaller big cats of the Felinae include cougars, cheetahs, lynxes, and ocelots. The Pantherinae which first appeared in Central Asia around sixteen millions years ago are among the oldest and largest of the big cats which include tigers, lions, jaguars, and leopards. (Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc.)
On August 7, 2010, paleobiologist Jack Tseng and colleagues were exploring on the Tibetan Plateau when they came across what is perhaps the most significant finds to date, part of the skull of a large cat sticking up out of the dirt. As the scientist began to dig they quickly realized they were digging in a bone bed when they began to find well preserved pieces of fox, pica, and...


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Works Cited
"Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc." n.d. feline. web. 16 Feb 2014.
"Himalayan Fossil of the oldest known pantherine establish anceint orgin of big cats." 7 Jan 2014. Poceedings of The Royal Society of Biological Sciences. web. 17 Feb 2014.
Holland, Jennifer S. "Fossil Find Vlears Up Big Cat Origins." 12 Nov 2013. National Geogrphic. web. 10 Feb 2014.
Mestel, R. "What Is a Sabertooth?" 1993. Unversity of California Museum of Paleontology. web. 1 Mar 2014. .
Rincon, Ascanio, Francisco Prevosit and Gilberto Parra. "New saber-toothed cat records (Felidae: Machairodontinae) for the Pleistocene of Venezuela, and the Great American Biotic Interchange. ." n.d. Academic Search Complete. web. 13 feb 2014.

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