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Oldest big cat fossil found in Tibet

RATE THIS! +49
Posted in Science on 14th Nov, 2013 12:29 AM by AlexMuller

The oldest big cat fossils ever found - from a previously unknown species "similar to a snow leopard" - have been unearthed in the Himalayas.

 
The skull fragments of the newly-named Panthera blytheae have been dated between 4.1 and 5.95 million years old.
 
Their discovery in Tibet supports the theory that big cats evolved in central Asia - not Africa - and spread outward.
 
They used both anatomical and DNA data to determine that the skulls belonged to an extinct big cat, whose territory appears to overlap many of the species we know today.
 
"This cat is a sister of living snow leopards - it has a broad forehead and a short face. But it's a little smaller - the size of clouded leopards," said lead author Dr Jack Tseng of the University of Southern California.
 
"This ties up a lot of questions we had on how these animals evolved and spread throughout the world.
 
"Biologists had hypothesised that big cats originated in Asia. But there was a division between the DNA data and the fossil record."

Tags: catfossilAsiaevolutionleopard

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+1
The ability to sequence genomes at low cost and quickly is helping studies of evolution - DNA analysis together with fossil data give much more accurate picture
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+1
The low cost is driven by efforts from entrepreneurs and scientists which are pursuing medical breakthroughs. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+1
This is significant, the finding of this fossil places origin of big cats to Central Asia and points out where to look for more
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
Finding about evolution is not only about the past. This can help understand how we can change some part of our cells to be more adaptable and restore some lost advantages
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
Big cats needs attention and preservation and any information from the study of their origin and evolution can help Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
Yes, I agree
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+1
The Lion Conservation Fund program would definitely want to know about possibilities that these findings can help their work Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
Yes, a new surveys and estimates suggest that the lion has disappeared from about 80 percent of its African range
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
No one knows how many lions survive today in Africa—as many as 35,000?—because wild lions are difficult to count. Reply
Reply
Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+1
In order to date the fossils, the technique called magnetostratigraphy. This method requires analysis of the magnetic orientation of the rocks around the site of the discovery and compare it to known reversals of the Earth’s magnetic field
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
Yes, this is a useful method and can be combined with the DNA analysis
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
Examining anatomy remains an important method also Reply
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
The evolution of big cats has been nearly as mysterious as the cats themselves. This new discovery will likely lead anthropologists to a better understanding of when and where big cats originated.
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2013-11-14
+0
The skull fragments are between 4.1 and 5.95 million years old and come from Tibet. this changes both place and time compared to previous findings Reply
Reply


 

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