Cat's Beginnings

The domestic cat is one of the 38 species of the felidae family. To analyze its evolution, we must go back 200 million years, when the first mammals appeared on earth (warm blood creatures that gestate, and nurse their litter); they were of small size and couldn’t be a match to the big oviparous dinosaurs, that in that period dominated the planet.

About 65 millions of years ago dinosaurs where extinguished due to some catastrophe; maybe due to the impact of an enormous asteroid that provoked a great cloud of dust that blocked away the suns light during several years.

No matter how it was, it supposed the end of the dinosaurs and the beginning of the apogee of mammals that increased their size, their variety and its numbers.

Of all the mammals, the groups of the miacis were the most prosperous. These expert hunters used their intellect to localize their prey and its claws to kill them.

They had teeth designed for cutting and tearing apart the meat of their victims.

Some 40 million years ago different groups of miacis started to develop, most of them small arborist creatures, although there were some of great dimensions that have been identified through fossils rests. Judging through the fossils found, one of the best species of the miacis (which no one would like to find on a dark prehistoric night) was the smilodon, or the saber tooth tiger, with a mouth dominated by two fangs of several centimeters of size.

The Smilodon
The smilodon appeared about 2 million years ago and were extinguished merely eleven thousand years ago opposite to other miacis arborist hunters. They would look for food within the great herbs of herbivores that roamed around the continents the oldest rests of saber tooth tigers where found at Derbyshire, England, and they are dated from 30,000 years ago.

The rests of saber tooth tigers found in California have an antiquity of only 13,000 years, which shows the long reign they had.

The Dinictis
But it was another descendant of the miacis, who gave place to the actual felidae: the Dinictis, smaller and faster.

When the glacial period started, some 3 million years ago, species of dinictis very similar to modern cats were perfectly established.

The oldest fossils are from 12 million years ago. The hard conditions of the glacial period, that exterminate the big herds of herbivores and made hunting a question of ability and intellect, where more favorable for them than to other bigger species.

During the glacial period more than a hundred of species of cats (each time more similar to those of the historic world) developed, all of them descendants of the dinictis.

The examination of the fossils prove that these species where much before to that of the evolution of any creature similar to the Homo sapiens.

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