Fossil with incisor teeth and sword sheds light on ancestors of domestic cats

Robin GoodSmit

Anyone who has experienced a love sting from a cat knows that it can be very painful. Streepje, Minoes, and Moortje may have an adorable appearance, but they can bite hard. But those sharp teeth serve a purpose: Our mustachioed friends could easily digest a diet restricted to meat only.

However, such an excessively meat-eating diet, which tigers also use, is a novelty, say scientists. Feline ancestors still struggled with this diet. Scientists have now discovered a new ancestor of the domestic cat that was one of the first to develop teeth and ate only meat.

It is a cat that resembles a modern lynx. This species lived about 40 million years ago and has saber teeth in addition to incisors. cats belongs to Machairodontinae Or saber-toothed cats. Scientists made this discovery after studying a fossil in San Diego, USA. Species Diegoaelurus vanvalkenburghae It is named after the site of the fossil and paleontologist Blair Van Valkenburg.

The scientists said D. Vanvalkenburghae may have been an “evolutionary experiment.” Judging by the distribution of cats in the modern world, that experiment was successful.

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250 million years ago, the cacophony of the animal kingdom began

Although life on Earth began about 3.7 billion years ago, it took a long time to get a feel for it. The movements can be heard in water, air, and on land, but no animal has notes on its song yet. Paleontologist Michael Habib wrote in Scientific American that it appeared only 250 million years ago. The fossil of a grasshopper that lived 250 million years ago is the oldest evidence of an animal sound machine.

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