How a single feline-like ancestor in Asia spread throughout the world and developed into all modern cat species?! This 11-million-year-old puzzle has been ultimately solved. Except Australia and Antarctica, cats are native to all continents. The existing 37 wild and domestic species belong to one of the world’s most successful carnivore families.
But, the biologists are still baffled in part, by the details of this evolution success story. It’s because the fossil records are incomplete and there are few distinguishing dental and skeletal characteristics among ancient cats.
To better chart the journey of cat evolution, a team led by Stephen O’Brien and Warren Johnson of the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland, has constructed a feline family tree, after nearly ten years of genetic research.