This real-life Tigger is the most ancient type of cat alive today


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/05/31/this-real-life-tigger-is-the-m.html


#2

The oldest kitty… and as it tears your ass up while pondering its own ‘style’, it thinks, “Nuthin’ like old school.”


#3

What does “most ancient” mean here. The phylogeny doesn’t seem to support it:


#4

“Most ancient cat” genuinely confused me. The first cat appeared somewhere around 30 million years ago, and all living types are its descendants, inheriting that same genetic blueprint with varying degrees of modification.

Is this then saying the Clouded Leopard was the first to appear in its modern form? The best thing I could find on the subject is this 2014 paper, which shows their fossil record does not go back as far as some other modern species like actual leopards.

Where they do stand out is being closest to the big Panthera, diverging from them just a bit after the little felines. So they provide some look at what features have changed in those two groups, and what might have been present in their common ancestor. But it doesn’t seem plain if there is reason to suspect they themselves are relatively unchanged since then.


#5

Shoulder cat will groom your hair for you.

The orange kitty that lives with me is just like that :smiley_cat:


#6

It confused me too. “Diverged longest ago from the most recent common ancestor” and “appear least changed from the most recent common ancestor” were the two interpretations I could think of. The latter might make sense, depending on how much we can infer about ancient genetics from cat fossils.

The former would just mean, “Anything this cat shares with other cats is probably part of the heritage of all cats,” I think. Just like “Anything monotremes share with monkeys is probably part of the heritage of all mammals.” But I wouldn’t phrase that as “The duck billed platypus contains the genetic blueprint of all mammals.”

Every living thing has been evolving the same number of years. Some just face more consistent selection pressures than others.


#7

Regarding breeding in captivity because they may one day go extinct:

Are there biologists who are taking and preserving DNA samples of as many members of a dwindling species as they are able? I assume that our ability to clone extinct species – and be able to do things like simulating a larger gene pool by combining existing samples as if we were breeding in vitro – is a question of when, not if.

It would be very unfortunate if the technology arrived, but we had so few samples of members of these species that it wasn’t feasible to resurrect them.


#8

Biology aside, I about died of squee when the guy was rough housing with the leopard just like we do with our bigger boy kittehs.


#9

Adorable kitteh is adorable, but still a stabby-cat!
I wonder if he will ever grow into those monster paws, or if they stay big relative to his body?


#10

Meh. Sorry to spoil the fun, but not gonna happen.

Besides straining finances of conservation issues by re-channelling funding, there is no point at all even trying such a technical solution if you can’t conserve and restore the ecosystems. And I’m not even touching ABS issues here.

If you are, however, interested in a project (or rather: many projects in a consortium) concerning genetics of wildlife, I suggest you have a closer look at BOL. I can tell you, the devil is not only in the detail.


#11

Double-negative confusion alert!


#12

Thanks! Fixed it.


#13

I assumed it meant each Clouded Leopard is older than all other cats, so the youngest of them must be over fifty. Why are there no kittens? Maybe they are born at age fifty.


#14

Oh crap. Does it follow that all Clouded Leopard must be the same age? Otherwise, one would be younger then another, and therefore not the oldest. It follows that all Clouded Leopards came into being in one primordial felid Big Bang. Could we trace all their vectors back in time to that one central feline singularity? Would it be a vast and comfortable area, or some impossibly dense point-source?


#15

I, for one, am worried about how dangerous kitty’s paws are big relative to MY body.

:slight_smile:


#16

I bet they stay big. In fact, i suspect that that cat is full grown. I would think that a large foot would be pretty advantageous if you’re jumping between branches.


#17

If snow leopards are anything to judge against, the paws stay disproportionately large.


#18

Came to say the same - one of my cats does that too. He doesn’t like his belly being rubbed though.

Actually, I also came to say this is fucking adorable!


#19

Donald Trump didn’t come from no snow leopard.


#20

Our orange tabby does that too. All 15 pounds of him. He does like having his belly rubbed.