Scientists in Maryland have put together a family tree for cats. Using DNA evidence, they found that the first cats evolved in South East Asia around 11 million years ago. The Panthera genus, which includes lions, tigers and jaguars, evolved first. Various other groups evolved rapidly, with the final group, the ancestor of the domestic house cat, emerging in Africa and Europe about 6.5 million years ago.

Confuse-a-cat: The evolutionary history of cats is quite a head-scratcher!

According to
this blogger,
the interesting thing about this study is that it was done entirely by genetics — by comparing DNA samples. Species with similar DNA are considered to be close relatives. The more traditional way of figuring out evolutionary relationships — by studying fossils — was less helpful in this particular case. Cat fossils look very much alike, and it can be extremely difficult to figure out exactly which species is related to which. Especially in a family like the cats, where the different animals moved around a lot. (According to the study, the ancestors of the cheetah started in South East Asia, moved to North America, and then back to Asia / Africa!)

Just goes to show that evidence for evolution comes from many different sources.

* (Yes, it's another obscure reference to pop songs from Gene's formative years...)

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

That is really cool information about wild cats and regular around the house cats. You should put more information about those cats no matter wheather it is wild cats or house cats. This is very nice information about the cats in the wild and the house cats. Do you have other new facts about the wild cats and the regular cats. Can you write anything about the cats or do you have to be serious. I think it would be funny if you made a joke about the cats. Most people have house cats like me. I have three cats in my house and two fish. You should put more and a little more spefic information on this site. Also you could make more pictures of differnt kinds of cats. You could write about many different cats that you made the pictures of. I love the information that you already have on the site. Although you could have more DNA about all the different cats there is around the world. Most people think that the cats are very interesting cats that you wrote about in this site about the cats. If you added something more it could be more interesting and you could get more people reading about your peice about the cats in the wild or in the house cats. Good luck with the information about all the cats around the house and around the wild outside in the wildlife where they are most likly to live to survive out there.

posted on Sat, 03/25/2006 - 12:29pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

i love cats. I'm an Ailurophilia.\r\nOhhh thx for the info.

posted on Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:40am
Gene's picture
Gene says:

You want house cats?
You want funny cats?
You want pictures of funny house cats?

This site's got 'em all! ;-)

posted on Mon, 04/03/2006 - 10:14am
mirandanicole's picture
mirandanicole says:

That is so cool!!!!!!!!!!!!

posted on Mon, 01/16/2006 - 11:55am
chelsey's picture
chelsey says:

i love cats

posted on Mon, 12/04/2006 - 1:34pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

what makes cat's hair frizz? What is the scientific explanation?

posted on Fri, 06/29/2007 - 10:37pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

Ahhhh i need picture of the inside of cats' bodies!!!!!!

posted on Sat, 04/26/2008 - 12:29pm
JGordon's picture
JGordon says:


posted on Sat, 04/26/2008 - 1:33pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

u r sick in the head man wut is ur problem get a life

posted on Sat, 04/26/2008 - 3:16pm

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