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Thu Aug 13, 2015, 11:50 PM

 

Cats vs dogs: Scientists confirm that felines are better... from an evolutionary perspective [View all]

Source: the independent

It’s the debate that has long divided animal lovers. Now scientists have confirmed that cats really are better than dogs – at least from an evolutionary perspective.

A groundbreaking study of 2,000 ancient fossils reveals that felids – the cat family – have historically been much better at surviving than the “canid” dog clan, and often at the latter’s expense.

The research finds that cats have played a significant role in making 40 dog species extinct, outcompeting them for scarce food supplies because they are generally more effective hunters. But researchers found no evidence that dogs have wiped out a single cat species.

The dog family – which includes the wolves from which today’s domesticated dogs are descended – originated in North America about 40 million years ago and reached a maximum diversity around 20 million years later, when there were more than 30 species on the continent. At that point, the cat family arrived from Asia.

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Dr Silvestro says it is unclear exactly why, when times were tough, the cats were able to see off dogs so comprehensively. But he believed it could be something to do with the retractable claws that ancient cats have passed down to their domesticated descendants, but which dogs don’t have.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/cats-vs-dogs-scientists-confirm-that-felines-are-better-from-an-evolutionary-perspective-10454590.html



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