Researchers analyzing over 2,000 fossils of felines and canines in Asia have come to the conclusion that when ancient cats arrived, they kind of took over, causing about 40 species of dogs to go into extinction.
Fossils of Cats and Dogs Prove Felines Rule In Evolutionary Studies
The researchers found that around 40 species of ancient dogs went extinct thanks to increased competition by none other than their natural sworn enemies: cats.
Well, technically, cats and other dogs were responsible for the competition that drove less successful breeds into the ground. The study results proved that competition among the same clades of animals was more important to extinction than other factors, including climate change and body size.
Competition, Not Climate Change or Body Size, Fuels Evolution Success
Although researchers studying evolutionary biology usually find a distinct change in the rise or fall of species due to climate change or body size, the researchers of this study found that competition among cats and dogs fueled the extinction of 40 canid species.
Between 40 million and 20 million years ago, canid species in North America had reached their evolutionary peak. But then, the feline species came around and proved to be a worthy carnivore adversary resulting in some dog species extinction, which is why we only have 9 native species in North America now.
Another common finding in evolution sciences is that a larger body size is better adapted to survival and thriving compared to smaller, less able bodies. However, as this study shows, ancient cats were smaller than their canid counterparts.
So how did these more diminutive carnivores win at the competition of survival?
Cats May Have Smaller Bodies, But More Warrior Like Prowess
Without the ability to use their size to overpower prey, ancient cats relied on their natural, warrior-like prowess, their cunning predatory hunting skills, and their sharp, retractable claws to take down their dinners.
The researchers believe that these attributes helped cats in terms of ambushing prey, whereas dogs did not have these advantages, most notably the retractable claws.
When supplies such as meat are limited and the number of carnivores is high, only the strongest, most adept hunters will live. With this new study, now the public will know what cat owners around the world have always suspected: cats were better at surviving than dogs and are most likely plotting to take over the world even now.
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