Wildcat
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Wildcat
The wildcat is a species complex comprising two small wild cat species: the European wildcat (''Felis silvestris'') and the African wildcat (''F. lybica''). The European wildcat inhabits forests in Europe, Anatolia and the Caucasus, while the African wildcat inhabits semi-arid landscapes and steppes in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Central Asia, into western India and western China. The wildcat species differ in fur pattern, tail, and size: the European wildcat has long fur and a bushy tail with a rounded tip; the smaller African wildcat is more faintly striped, has short sandy-gray fur and a tapering tail; the Asiatic wildcat (''F. lybica ornata'') is spotted. The wildcat and the other members of the cat family had a common ancestor about 10–15 million years ago. The European wildcat evolved during the Cromerian Stage about 866,000 to 478,000 years ago; its direct ancestor was '' Felis lunensis''. The ''silvestris'' and ''lybica'' lineages probably diverged about 173, ...
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European Wildcat
The European wildcat (''Felis silvestris'') is a small wildcat species native to continental Europe, Scotland, Turkey and the Caucasus. It inhabits forests from the Iberian Peninsula, Italy, Central and Eastern Europe to the Caucasus. Its fur is brownish to grey with stripes on the forehead and on the sides and has a bushy tail with a black tip. It reaches a head-to-body length of up to with a long tail, and weighs up to . In France and Italy, the European wildcat is predominantly nocturnal, but also active in the daytime when undisturbed by human activities. It preys foremost on small mammals such as lagomorphs and rodents, but also on ground-dwelling birds. Taxonomy ''Felis (catus) silvestris'' was the scientific name proposed in 1778 by Johann von Schreber when he described a wild cat based on texts from the early 18th century and before. In the 19th and 20th centuries, several wildcat type specimens were described and proposed as subspecies, including: * ''Felis sil ...
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African Wildcat
The African wildcat (''Felis lybica'') is a small wildcat species native to Africa, West and Central Asia up to Rajasthan in India and Xinjiang in China. It has been listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List in 2022. In Cyprus, an African wildcat was found in a burial site next to a human skeleton in the Pre-Pottery Neolithic B settlement Shillourokambos. The graves are estimated to have been established by Neolithic farmers about 9,500 years ago, and are the earliest known evidence for a close association between a cat and a human. Their proximity indicates that the cat may have been tamed or domesticated. Results of genetic research indicate that the African wildcat genetically diverged into three clades about 173,000 years ago, namely the Near Eastern wildcat, Southern African wildcat and Asiatic wildcat. African wildcats were first domesticated about 10,000 years ago in the Near East, and are the ancestors of the domestic cat (''F. catus''). Crossings between domestic ...
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Asiatic Wildcat
The Asiatic wildcat (''Felis lybica ornata''), also known as the Asian steppe wildcat and the Indian desert cat, is an African wildcat subspecies that occurs from the eastern Caspian Sea north to Kazakhstan, into western India, western China and southern Mongolia. There is no information on current status or population numbers across the Asiatic wildcat's range as a whole, but populations are thought to be declining. Taxonomy ''Felis ornata'' was the scientific name used by John Edward Gray in the early 1830s as a caption to an illustration of an Indian wildcat from Thomas Hardwicke's collection. In subsequent years, several naturalists described spotted wildcat zoological specimens from Asian range countries and proposed names, including the following: *''Chaus caudatus'' by Gray in 1874 was a skin and skull from the Bukhara Region in Uzbekistan. *''Felis shawiana'' by William Thomas Blanford in 1876 was a pale wildcat skin from Yarkand in Xinjiang, western China. *''Felis ( ...
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Felinae
The Felinae are a subfamily of the family Felidae. This subfamily comprises the small cats having a bony hyoid, because of which they are able to purr but not roar. Other authors have proposed an alternative definition for this subfamily: as comprising only the living conical-toothed cat genera with two tribes, the Felini and Pantherini; thus excluding all fossil cat species. Characteristics The members of the Felinae have retractile claws that are protected by at least one cutaneous lobe. Their larynx is kept close to the base of the skull by an ossified hyoid. They can purr owing to the vocal folds being shorter than . The cheetah ''Acinonyx'' does not have cutaneous sheaths for guarding claws. Taxonomy The term 'Felini' was first used in 1817 by Gotthelf Fischer von Waldheim, at the time for all the cat species that had been proposed as belonging to the genus ''Felis''. In 1917, Reginald Innes Pocock also subordinated the following genera to the Felinae that had been ...
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Felis Lunensis
''Felis lunensis,'' or the Martelli's cat is an extinct felid of the subfamily Felinae. Evolution and taxonomy Around 12 million years ago, the genus '' Felis'' appeared and eventually gave rise to many of the modern small cats. ''Felis lunensis'' was one of the first modern ''Felis'' species, appearing around 2.5 million years ago in the Pliocene. Fossil specimens of ''F. lunensis'' have been recovered in Italy and Hungary. Fossil evidence suggests the modern European wildcat '' Felis silvestris'' may have evolved from ''F. lunensis'' during the Middle Pleistocene. This has resulted in ''F. lunensis'' occasionally being considered a subspecies of ''Felis silvestris''. ''Felis lunensis'' first described by Alessandro Martelli in 1906 was a mandible excavated in Pliocene deposits near Olivola in Tuscany. The holotype A holotype is a single physical example (or illustration) of an organism, known to have been used when the species (or lower-ranked ...
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Felidae
Felidae () is the family of mammals in the order Carnivora colloquially referred to as cats, and constitutes a clade. A member of this family is also called a felid (). The term "cat" refers both to felids in general and specifically to the domestic cat ('' Felis catus''). Felidae species exhibit the most diverse fur pattern of all terrestrial carnivores. Cats have retractile claws, slender muscular bodies and strong flexible forelimbs. Their teeth and facial muscles allow for a powerful bite. They are all obligate carnivores, and most are solitary predators ambushing or stalking their prey. Wild cats occur in Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas. Some wild cat species are adapted to forest habitats, some to arid environments, and a few also to wetlands and mountainous terrain. Their activity patterns range from nocturnal and crepuscular to diurnal, depending on their preferred prey species. Reginald Innes Pocock divided the extant Felidae into three subfamilies: the Pant ...
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Introgression
Introgression, also known as introgressive hybridization, in genetics is the transfer of genetic material from one species into the gene pool of another by the repeated backcrossing of an interspecific hybrid with one of its parent species. Introgression is a long-term process, even when artificial; it may take many hybrid generations before significant backcrossing occurs. This process is distinct from most forms of gene flow in that it occurs between two populations of different species, rather than two populations of the same species. Introgression also differs from simple hybridization. Simple hybridization results in a relatively even mixture; gene and allele frequencies in the first generation will be a uniform mix of two parental species, such as that observed in mules. Introgression, on the other hand, results in a complex, highly variable mixture of genes, and may only involve a minimal percentage of the donor genome. Definition Introgression or introgressive hybridi ...
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Rodent
Rodents (from Latin , 'to gnaw') are mammals of the order Rodentia (), which are characterized by a single pair of continuously growing incisors in each of the upper and lower jaws. About 40% of all mammal species are rodents. They are native to all major land masses except for New Zealand, Antarctica, and several oceanic islands, though they have subsequently been introduced to most of these land masses by human activity. Rodents are extremely diverse in their ecology and lifestyles and can be found in almost every terrestrial habitat, including human-made environments. Species can be arboreal, fossorial (burrowing), saltatorial/richochetal (leaping on their hind legs), or semiaquatic. However, all rodents share several morphological features, including having only a single upper and lower pair of ever-growing incisors. Well-known rodents include mice, rats, squirrels, prairie dogs, porcupines, beavers, guinea pigs, and hamsters. Rabbits, hares, and pikas, wh ...
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Neolithic Revolution
The Neolithic Revolution, or the (First) Agricultural Revolution, was the wide-scale transition of many human cultures during the Neolithic period from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement, making an increasingly large population possible. These settled communities permitted humans to observe and experiment with plants, learning how they grew and developed. This new knowledge led to the domestication of plants into crops. Archaeological data indicates that the domestication of various types of plants and animals happened in separate locations worldwide, starting in the geological epoch of the Holocene 11,700 years ago. It was the world's first historically verifiable revolution in agriculture. The Neolithic Revolution greatly narrowed the diversity of foods available, resulting in a downturn in the quality of human nutrition compared with that obtained previously from foraging. The Neolithic Revolution involved far more than the adopt ...
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Hybridisation (biology)
In biology, a hybrid is the offspring resulting from combining the qualities of two organisms of different breeds, varieties, species or genera through sexual reproduction. Hybrids are not always intermediates between their parents (such as in blending inheritance), but can show hybrid vigor, sometimes growing larger or taller than either parent. The concept of a hybrid is interpreted differently in animal and plant breeding, where there is interest in the individual parentage. In genetics, attention is focused on the numbers of chromosomes. In taxonomy, a key question is how closely related the parent species are. Species are reproductively isolated by strong barriers to hybridisation, which include genetic and morphological differences, differing times of fertility, mating behaviors and cues, and physiological rejection of sperm cells or the developing embryo. Some act before fertilization and others after it. Similar barriers exist in plants, with differences in flowering tim ...
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IUCN Red List
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species, also known as the IUCN Red List or Red Data Book, founded in 1964, is the world's most comprehensive inventory of the global conservation status of biological species. It uses a set of precise criteria to evaluate the extinction risk of thousands of species and subspecies. These criteria are relevant to all species and all regions of the world. With its strong scientific base, the IUCN Red List is recognized as the most authoritative guide to the status of biological diversity. A series of Regional Red Lists are produced by countries or organizations, which assess the risk of extinction to species within a political management unit. The aim of the IUCN Red List is to convey the urgency of conservation issues to the public and policy makers, as well as help the international community to reduce species extinction. According to IUCN the formally stated goals of the Red List are to provi ...
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Least Concern
A least-concern species is a species that has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as evaluated as not being a focus of species conservation because the specific species is still plentiful in the wild. They do not qualify as threatened, near threatened, or (before 2001) conservation dependent. Species cannot be assigned the "Least Concern" category unless they have had their population status evaluated. That is, adequate information is needed to make a direct, or indirect, assessment of its risk of extinction based on its distribution or population status. Evaluation Since 2001 the category has had the abbreviation "LC", following the IUCN 2001 Categories & Criteria (version 3.1). Before 2001 "least concern" was a subcategory of the "Lower Risk" category and assigned the code "LR/lc" or lc. Around 20% of least concern taxa (3261 of 15636) in the IUCN database still use the code "LR/lc", which indicates they have not been re-evalu ...
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