Fossils of a new big cat species discovered in Tibet fill evolutionary gap

Posted by Guido Donati 13 Nov 2013

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New Species Of Big Cat Discovered In Tibet Fills Evolutionary Gap

The evolution of big cats has been nearly as mysterious as the cats themselves, but a new discovery will likely lead anthropologists to a better understanding of when and where big cats originated.

During a 2010 paleontological dig in Tibet, a husband-and-wife team who were part of a larger expedition discovered the fossilized partial remains of what appeared to be a type of cat. University of Southern California (USC) graduate Z. Jack Tseng and his wife Juan Liu made the discovery in the Zanda Basin near the border of Pakistan and China.

Tseng, who now works with the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) in New York, said the discovery was a surprise. In a Smithsonian Magazine blog, Tseng explained that the team had been driving trail after trail in the Tibetan “badlands” before discovering a patch of fossils protruding from the ground on one particular hillside.

“In the little concentration of fossils, there were lots of limb bones from antelopes and horses obscuring everything else,” said Tseng. “It wasn’t until we started lifting things up, one by one, that we saw the top of a skull, and we thought, from the shape, that it looked something like a cat.”

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Autorizzazioni del Tribunale di Roma – diffusioni:
telematica quotidiana 229/2006 del 08/06/2006
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Scienceonline, Autorizzazione del Tribunale di Roma 228/2006 del 29/05/06
Pubblicato a Roma – Via A. De Viti de Marco, 50 – Direttore Responsabile Guido Donati

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