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Feline or also called Felidae is a family of mammals, Animals that belong to Felidae are called felids.
The family is quite a recent origin: the first fossils are from the Oligocene, 25 million years ago (mya). There are 41 living species, including the domestic cat, and they are monophyletic, that means they are all descended from the same ancestor.
Characteristics[edit | edit source]
Felids tend to have lithe and flexible bodies with muscular limbs. In most species, the tail is a third or a half the length of the body, with some exceptions (the bobcat and margay). The limbs are digitigrade, meaning they walk on their toes. The paws have three soft toe pads and retractable claws (usually). The tongue of felids is covered with horny Filiform papilla, which takes meat from prey and aid in grooming.
Evolution[edit | edit source]
The felids evolved in Asia and spread across continents by crossing land bridges. DNA sequence analysis shows that ancient cats evolved into eight main lines. There were at least 10 migrations (in both directions) from continent to continent via the Bering land bridge and Isthmus of Panama. The Panthera type is the oldest and the Felis type is the youngest. 60 percent of the modern species of cats.