Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cats & Computers (video)

Your Daily #Cat

Profile of a cute white lion 

Profile of a cute white lion by Tambako The Jaguar

All Black Cats Are Not Alike

Master is a sleeper agent.
Like the Russians say, you don’t choose the cat, the cat chooses you. Lars and Irene named their gutsy wee thing for the walking, talking, tram-riding devil’s-associate cat in Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita.” When they brought him home, a few years ago, he fired out of the box, puked, put his tail in the air, and decided that this would do. He thinks it’s extremely rude when guests don’t say hello to him. He spends his weekdays in Long Island City (where he has agreed to use the toilet) and his weekends in the country by a lake. He is no good in a canoe.
Lucky regrets not flossing.
A black-cat collection is not a black-cat collection without a Lucky. Full custody of this one was ceded in a divorce to Christy, who, in 2007, was so taken with his sleek look, aloof behavior, and auspicious name that she resisted heavy promotional efforts by shelter workers on behalf of a black-and-white rival. Lucky has not had much luck in terms of keeping his teeth; only one fang remains. For several years, he reluctantly shared his Brooklyn home with All White Cat Wafu. Lucky could barely conceal his glee when she died. He’s been known to hump faux-fur blankets, and when he is especially displeased (like when Christy leaves on vacation) he poops in the bathtub. This is somehow both naughty and considerate.
Princess (of Long Island) fishes for compliments.
When the house is nice and dark and everyone is in bed—people Paul, Patrice, Brian, Matthew, Christine, Colleen, blonde brother-cat Maxwell and Lab-retriever mix Sadie—Princess likes to take the dish towel that hangs on the stove to another room and howl and howl until someone tells her she’s a good girl. She and Maxwell were originally intended to live there for a week as kittens (on loan from rescuer Aunt Irene). That turned into thirteen years. Her fur is like velvet, but she is a little overweight. Princess looks like a raccoon from the back, because she waddles.
Sashi is scheming.
A shy beauty of Siberian descent, Sashi lives in Park Slope with four humans: two large, two small. She yells at the woman in the morning and the man at night. She is starting to manipulate the kids. Sashi is fifteen years old but looking great, often mistaken for twelve. She enjoys freeze-dried chicken by candlelight and full-body rubs. She does not enjoy overachievers, beef, or pork.
Sonny was a lump.
Total mellow dude and loverboy Sonny lived with us in the East Village until—sadly but appropriately—Valentine’s Day, 2005, when he curled up on our bed and died young. We like to think the cause of death was contentment. He was impressively happy and lazy and heavy and unskilled in the ways of cats. He would fall off large, secure surfaces. He didn’t clean himself much, so he was often mucky. Once he got his claw stuck in the spine of a dictionary, which he dragged around for quite a while until he fell asleep next to it, unbothered and still attached. Peter still swears that one night, at bedtime, Sonny looked right at him and said, slowly, deeply, “Alllllright.” Beyond color of fur, he had not a single thing in common with the future chic and shiny size-zero ABC heiress Mimi Goldsparkle.
Salem (the Younger) is drinking your water.
The sleek two-year-old Salem, who plays with bottle caps, lives with Cat (Cat!) and her fiancé, Mike, in the Financial District—where he will always drink out of your glass, never his bowl. He is likely right now stranded on top of a giant mirror in the living room.
Ronaldo wins.
When stretched out, Ronaldo is almost three feet long. In a feat of expert-level cuteness one day in April, the thirteen-and-a-half-pound, three-year-old big boy rubbed up against Rebecca and flopped on his back at Meow Parlour (Manhattan’s first cat café). Now a Brooklynite, adopted with his black-and-white friend Roger, he winningly fixes his slightly cross-eyed stare on Rebecca to try to wake her up before he resorts to sniffing her eyeballs. Patience is his weapon. The ultimate ninja cat, he can wait quietly forever for a human to trip over him and drop food. Or, when his younger brother is bugging him, Ronaldo will just sit and sit on Roger’s head. He totally wins, every time.
Kim is in the bath.
Not being Kardashian fans, Sara and Francis dropped Kim’s last name when they adopted her this winter—along with her orange tabby foster mate Kris—from a Valentine’s Day date at Meow Parlour. They live in Queens, where Kim blends in perfectly with a furry black blanket they have draped over a recliner. She nearly disappears, unlike a Kardashian. She is obsessed with the bathtub, walking along the ledge, lying down in it when it’s still wet, and using it as a kill corner to bring toys she’s caught (and will growl to protect). The one time she fell into a full tub she hopped back out and shook herself off—no drama, no selfie.
Ringo has just landed.
Though silky, jet-black young Ringo is an easygoing boy, he always looks somewhat startled. When he arrived at Meow Parlour, he had a single white whisker on each side. One day, he lost one of them and seemed very upset by the asymmetry. Until he lost the other. The one-year-old puppy-cat personality, a Taurus, likes snuggling, soccer, and yellow submarines. He dislikes magnetic anomalies.
Yoshi wants in.
Despite the Japanese boy name, Yoshi is a thirteen-year-old girl. She was a stray who won the hearts of her cat-speaking people by jumping the highest of all her littermates—five, six feet, straight up. She was a champ dealing with the two little humans who later joined her household. She currently lives (and uses her words, with an impressive vocabulary) in the bucolic suburbs outside New York. In an ideal scenario, she is lounging on the warm floor of the upstairs bathroom, eating shrimp.
Tino is a wild card.
An aggressive cat from the very beginning—2001, three weeks old, eyes crossed and barely open when two boys in a public school in the South Bronx brought him to Catherine in a shoe box—Tino has no play mode. For six years, he reigned in terror, going from docile to destroy: the hand dangling off the sofa, the sleeper with a little skin exposed, the dark-hallway ambush. Then, on the recommendation of a cat behaviorist, Catherine and Dan brought Owen—a younger, kinder, fatter, gray cat—into the house to temper Tino’s more psychotic episodes. The attacks were reduced by approximately ninety-five per cent. Now fourteen, Tino is a cuddler, but cuddling with him is like cuddling with Jack the Ripper. He does not like much except food: corn on the cob, Brussels sprouts, black beans, asparagus, and cream cheese. He has retired to the countryside north of New York to live out his remaining years.
Vano is uptown.
Vano lives in a multigenerational, international Armenian family—mom, dad, grandfather, sons Haig, fifteen, Vahan, twelve, and sister Nairi, nine—on Fifth Avenue in Lower Harlem. He was born here two years ago, along with five siblings, in the closet. This was shortly after the family had admired then taken in a beautiful cat who’d been walking the streets for weeks, secretly fed by their doorman. How could anyone abandon something so precious? Within an hour of naming her, it was discovered that Anoush was pregnant and soon expecting. Vano chases sticks and balls when you throw them. He likes ice and even water. A city kid, he shows disdain for the outdoors.


All Black Cats Are Not Alike,” by Amy Goldwasser and Peter Arkle, is out this month.

UGA scientists eye tiger, leopard creation

Friday, Oct. 30, 2015
By Mark Davis - The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Call it a pipe dream, or — better — something cooked up in the imagination of people who do implausible things with the very strands of life, DNA.

Call it a last-chance grab at something fast vanishing. What is more fleeting than the genetic makeup of an endangered species?
Call it the stuff of miracles. How else do you explain what scientists at the University of Georgia are proposing?

Researchers at UGA’s Regenerative Bioscience Center want to create a Sumatran tiger and clouded leopard from skin cells harvested years ago from a tiger and leopard at Zoo Atlanta. By creating more big cats, they say, each species — one endangered, the other threatened — has a better chance of surviving.

Such a procedure is not unique. Researchers have used skin cells to create a pig, chickens and quail — but never something so large as a tiger or leopard.
The bioscience center wants to raise $25,000 for the first step in a procedure that likely would take months and cost about $100,000. An online donation site has raised less than $3,000.

Despite the tepid rate of donations, Dr. Franklin West, who proposed the cells-to-cats enterprise, remains upbeat. He has cells from Jalal, a Sumatran tiger, and Moby, a clouded leopard. Both were stars at Zoo Atlanta until their deaths several years ago. He’d like to see their genes passed on to future generations.

West is an assistant professor at the center. He specializes in cell-development research to help people suffering from strokes or traumatic brain injury. Working with cat cells, he said, is a sideline, “a labor of love.”

“It’s very exciting,” said West. “It’s doable”

West is working with Dr Steven Stice, the center’s director. Without going into exhaustive detail, they propose taking skin cells and using them to create stem cells. Stem cells are nature’s blank canvas: from them, other, more specialized cells can be created.

After creating stem cells, West wants to take his research a step further — making sperm from those cells. With that, he said, the engineered sperm of creatures that died years ago can be used to impregnate living cats. The genetic material of the tiger and leopard can be preserved in future animals. Gene pools in danger of depletion can be strengthened.

The danger is real. Panthera tigris sumatrae is the most endangered subspecies in the tiger family. An international animal conservation list notes that as few as 400 of the big cats may remain on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Things are slightly better for Neofelis nebulosa, the clouded leopard. It’s suffered habitat loss in its traditional range, from Nepal to southern China, and is considered threatened.

Because they’re imperiled, the big cats’ genetic material is invaluable, West said. “As you can imagine,” he said, “skin cells from endangered species aren’t easy to find.”

‘Genetic legacy’

Jalal was born in 1993 at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington. Five years later, he came to Zoo Atlanta, where he sired a cub. He lived until 2010. Jalal was 16; for a tiger, that’s old.

Moby was born in 1996 at the Buffalo Zoo. He came to Zoo Atlanta nine years later, where he lived a solitary life — typical, for his species. He sired no offspring here. Moby died in 2013. Like his striped counterpart, he was 16.

Before dying, each gave up a sliver of flesh from his stomach. Veterinarians sedated each for a checkup, taking a slice of genetic material before winding up their examinations. West witnessed the examinations through a closed window. The sleeping cats’ sides rose and fell with slow, measured breaths. West marveled at their fearful symmetry. “They were beautiful,” he said.


The technology West proposes is intriguing but hardly guaranteed to work, said Budhan Pukazhenthi, who works at the Smithsonian’s Center for Species Survival. A physiologist, Pukazhenthi said such procedures don’t mean conservationists should give up traditional methods of species survival — chief among them, preserving animals’ natural habitats. “We are years and years down the road” from perfecting cells-to-sperm procedures, Pukazhenthi said. “There’s a lot more work that needs to be done.”

The proposed project excites Joe Mendelson, Zoo Atlanta’s director of research. “They (UGA scientists) are preserving the genetic legacy of individuals that have passed away,” said Mendelson. “That’s a remarkable contribution.”

Such research was hardly on the horizon when he became a scientist a quarter-century ago, Mendelson said. He only wishes better technology had been available in 2000, when Willie B, perhaps the zoo’s most famed resident, died. A statue of the gorilla on the zoo’s grounds is a bronze reminder of the big primate. “How important and fascinating would it be if we could breed Willie B into perpetuity?” he asked.

source

African #lion survival may be dependent on corridor creation

Date:
         October 30, 2015
Source:
USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station
Summary:
Across Africa, lion populations are threatened by continued reductions in their range and associated genetic isolation. A new study published this month in Landscape Ecology shows that strategic directional fencing and/or corridors aimed at directing lions between protected areas may be a viable solution for lion conservation. Landscape connectivity is critical to the survival of the African lion.

This is an image of a lion in the study area named Cecil captured by collaborator A. Loveridge
Credit: A. Loveridge

Across Africa, lion populations are threatened by continued reductions in their range and associated genetic isolation.

Over the last fifteen years scientists from the U.S. Forest Service have developed a suite of methods to understand how ecological changes caused by human activities affect species occurrence, population sizes and movement. These methods have been adopted around the world to address a wide variety of research, management and conservation challenges. For the last six years, scientists from the U.S. Forest Service and Oxford University have been collaborating to understand how lions move across the African landscape and to model ways to try to conserve genetic diversity and populations across the continent.

Focusing on the Kavango-Zambezi Trans-frontier Conservation Area (KAZA), a new study published this month in Landscape Ecology shows that strategic directional fencing and/or corridors aimed at directing lions between protected areas may be a viable solution for lion conservation. Landscape connectivity is critical to the survival of the African lion. This study looked at lions with different dispersal, or movement abilities, and then compared this against nine different landscape scenarios, which included reduction of protected lands, doubling of human populations, transition of non-protected lands to agro-pastoral use and more.

Dr. Samuel Cushman, research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, is lead author and provided the modeling expertise for the various landscape scenarios. "We were surprised to see that lion populations were so vulnerable to habitat loss and fragmentation, given they are among the most mobile animals in all of Africa," said Cushman. "This suggests that habitat loss and fragmentation will possibly have more severe effects on other species, which are less mobile." Cushman went on to note that "the results demonstrated that protected areas are critical to the future survival of the African lion; and the building of corridors or funneling mechanisms between protected areas is equally critical so that lions can be directed to other suitable habitat and away from potential conflict areas."

Ultimately, the study showed that the most effective path toward long-term lion population conservation across the KAZA region is to retain current protected areas augmented with protected corridors between parks and/or strategic use of fencing.

"I am very honored," said Dr. Cushman "that the Forest Service is called upon for its landscape modeling expertise and that the research we developed, focusing on the ecology and management of forest ecosystems in the western United States, has had such a wide reach and could be applied so globally."

Story Source:
The above post is reprinted from materials provided by USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Journal Reference:
  1. Samuel A. Cushman, Nicholas B. Elliot, David W. Macdonald, Andrew J. Loveridge. A multi-scale assessment of population connectivity in African lions (Panthera leo) in response to landscape change. Landscape Ecology, 2015; DOI: 10.1007/s10980-015-0292-3


USDA Forest Service - Rocky Mountain Research Station. "African lion survival may be dependent on corridor creation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2015. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2015/10/151030105241.htm>.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Your Daily #Cat

The tongue of a cheetah 

The tongue of a cheetah by Tambako The Jaguar

Remember Cassidy The Miracle Kitten? He No Longer Needs His Wheelchair To Get Around

Let him catspire you. 


Remember Cassidy The Miracle Kitten? He No Longer Needs His Wheelchair To Get Around
TinyKittens
The little guy’s back legs were damaged at birth. By the time he was rescued from a feral colony he’d almost starved to death. He was taken in by the TinyKittens Society, an animal rescue group in Langley, British Columbia.
After weeks of healing, Cassidy took his first steps in his fancy new wheelchair in September.

Well, now there’s a MAJOR UPDATE to the story: Cassidy no longer needs the wheelchair to get around!

Well, now there's a MAJOR UPDATE to the story: Cassidy no longer needs the wheelchair to get around!
TinyKittens / Via Facebook: tinykittens
TinyKittens released another video on its Facebook page recently that shows Cassidy’s continued progress.

He went from having his hind legs physically moved for him, to walking with a harness, to finally being able to walk all on his own in an adorably clumsy sort of way.

Remember Cassidy The Miracle Kitten? He No Longer Needs His Wheelchair To Get Around
TinyKittens / Via Facebook: tinykittens
Go, Cassidy, go

source



This is why we call Cassidy our #MiracleKitten. <3His rescue story: TinyKittens.com
Posted by Tinykittens on Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Music to Cats’ Ears (video)






Young rescue cats like Pocket tend to be the most responsive to "Music for Cats." Credit Amy Lombard for The New York Times

In the long battle for feline affection, cat owners may have some fresh ammunition.
David Teie, a soloist with the National Symphony Orchestra, recently teamed up with animal scientists to develop “Music for Cats,” a series of whirring, lilting and at times squeaky musical tracks designed for cats’ brains and ears.

Owners often leave the radio or a playlist on for cats alone in the house, assuming they will share human musical tastes, be it classical, country or the lyrical tones of NPR hosts. But cats’ hearing develops differently and “we mindlessly turn on music” for them, said Charles Snowdon, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who worked with Mr. Teie on the project. With its special instruments and tonal mixing, “Music for Cats” aims to bridge that sensory gap, he said.

In some tracks, sounds similar to the chirps of birds are overlaid with hurried streams of staccato for an energizing effect; in others, crescendos of purring and suckling sounds are designed to relax. To a human ear, the sounds are otherworldly and at times soporific.

But what about the music’s target audience? My cat, Pocket, could do with some music-induced relaxation. She was found wandering the streets of the Bronx, and when we took her from the New York City Animal Care and Control shelter to her new home in Brooklyn, she developed a nervous habit of running full speed down the hallway, smacking her head against doors along the way.

Listening to the track “Cozmo’s Air,” built upon soothing vibrato sounds, she sat still. By the end of the four and a half minutes, she had curled herself around the speakers, purring.

Young rescue cats like Pocket are generally the most responsive to the music, Mr. Snowdon said, adding that the more-calming tracks could be therapeutic for cats who have experienced neglect or abuse.

A Kickstarter campaign aims to raise $20,000 to produce more songs for a full album that can be left on for the housebound pets. It will include around six tracks of 10 minutes of music, interspersed with silences.


 
Music for Cats Video by musicforcats.com


In a video that accompanies the campaign, some of Instagram’s favorite cats are shown listening for the first time to music designed for them. In the video, Nala, Bacon, City the Kitty and Cole and Marmalade appear to react variably with surprise, confusion or contentment.

The “Music for Cats” project joins a pet market that was worth more than $74 billion last year and which continues to grow, according to George Puro, who analyzes it for Packaged Facts, a market research company.

For several years, marketers have been particularly successful selling pet products and treatments generally associated with humans. Consumers who see their pets as family members (referred to as “pet humanization”) are increasingly inclined to spend money on things they themselves would appreciate, Mr. Puro said. The cat music can now be added to a list including spa treatments, artisan food and designer clothes.

Mr. Teie said he wants to bring “the beauty and comfort of music to as many species as possible.” Next up: dogs. “I worry they will want to sing along, though,” he said.

 source

Moggy mum reunites with 'kidnapped' kittens

NICOLE LAWTON
DANICA MACLEAN

Mill Road Vet Clinic vet Leanne Julian says the story of the cat and her four kittens has hit headlines around the world.

A Northland puss has been lavishing her four kittens with love after being reunited with them.
The Whangarei feline made international headlines after she tried to sneak into a vet clinic to be reunited with her "kidnapped" kitties.

Two weeks ago she was spotted hanging around the clinic trying to reach her babies, who had been taken inside.
A mother cat in Northland has become international news.
Facebook

A mother cat in Northland has become international news.

"We have a heart-warming story for you," Mill Road Vet Clinic posted on its Facebook page on October 15. Yesterday we found a box of kittens dumped on our front door. This morning we noticed a tabby cat hanging around our front door, trying to sneak in every time a client arrived. When we realised it wasn't going to go away, we picked her up and discovered she was a feeding mum. Then the penny dropped!"

"Sure enough, we introduced her to the 'orphan' kittens and there was a very happy reunion. Presumably she had been in the box too and escaped before we arrived for work. She's probably been prowling around all night looking for her kidnapped kittens."

The story of the persistent puss has been picked up around the planet. Veterinarian Leanne Julian said, "It's all gone global, we've had messages from people in America, they've been in Italian newspapers, there's been messages from Sweden. I don't know, it's just gone everywhere, and the UK as well ... [the world's] totally gone crazy over these four cute little kittens and their mum"

In the United Kingdom the mum and her four kittens have received coverage from the Daily Mail and Telegraph, in the United States the Huffington Post and USA Today have covered the reunion, and the Malaysia Chronicle has also written about it.

Vet staff will foster the pride of three males and one female until they are old enough to adopt out - but staff don't expect that to be difficult.

They have already found a potential home for the mother. "In due course we will need to find homes for them all," staff said on Facebook. "Mum and kittens are all completely adorable, so hopefully it won't be difficult."

source

Cats Who Are Actually Spies (video)

Tiger strays into Bhopal institute, caught and shifted to national park

Forest authorities were set to begin rescue operations more than six hours after the big cat was first spotted around 5.45 am. Bhopal, Bhopal tiger, Bhopal tiger news, Bhopal agricultural institute, Tiger in Bhopal agricultural institute, Madhya Pradesh news, Bhopal news, India News A tiger spotted on the premises of the Central Institute of Agriculture Engineering on the outskirts of Bhopal on Thursday. (PTI Photo)
A tiger was captured from the campus of the Central Institute of Agriculture Engineering (CIAE) in Bhopal on Thursday and shifted to the Van Vihar National Park. The incident raised concerns as Nabi Baugh is a highly-populated area. Sitting on the roof of a quarter, the tiger jumped onto a shed and the roof caved in. The rescue operation took hours and the big cat was tranquilised and shifted to the national park around 3 pm.

The tiger will be monitored for the next 24 hours and the decision to shift it to a tiger reserve will be taken after that, forest officer A K Singh said. The authorities had been focusing on Kaliasot and Kerwa localities where at least two tigers have been sighted  recently.

Several people sighted the tigers in the area that connects to the Ratapani Tiger Reserve. In fact, tigers have been seen less that 10 km from New Market, the heart of Bhopal town, over the last few years.

Following Thursday’s incident, the forest authorities were alarmed over the entry of the tiger from a totally  unexpected direction and have decided to capture the tigers in Kerwa and Kaliasot. Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Narendra Kumar told The Indian Express that the forest department will begin the process from Friday itself. “It’s a hilly area and we will have to use elephants to track and tranquilise the tigers,’’ he said.

The big cats from the outskirts of Bhopal will be shifted to other tiger reserves after they are captured. Wildlife experts said there are several tigers around Kerwa and Kaliasot localities. The Ratapani sanctuary has not been notified yet. The forest authorities believe the tiger captured on Thursday came from Raisen or Vidisha and must have covered a long distance to reach the outskirts of Bhopal.

source

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Meet the 1st Iberian lynx


The remains of an Iberian lynx specimen which lived 1.6 million years ago - the oldest ever discovered - were found resting in a cave in Barcelona (Spain). This discovery not only allows us to shed light on the origins of one of the world's most endangered feline species, but it also means that the emergence of this species on the Iberian Peninsula dates back half a million years earlier than what was originally believed.
SINC | | October 28 2015

Reconstruction of the Iberian lynx that lived in the Iberian Peninsula 1.6 million years ago. / José Antonio Peñas (Sinc)

This newly discovered specimen was 10 to 20 centimetres larger and around 10 kilograms heavier than the Iberian lynx that currently inhabits Doñana National Park in Spain. Its coat was also longer than it is today in order to withstand continuous near-freezing temperatures. This description of the feline was formulated after a study was carried out on one of the first Iberian lynxes that ever lived in Spain. The emergence of this feline on the Iberian Peninsula actually dates back 500,000 years earlier than what scientists originally thought

Part of a cranial fossil belonging to an Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus) was uncovered among the horse, goat, deer, woolly mammoth, fox and wolf bones preserved in the Avenc Marcel Cave located in the Garraf massif of Barcelona. This is the oldest Iberian lynx that has been found on the Iberian Peninsula to date and it was discovered by the scientist Manel Llenas in 2003.

The fossil remains of this feline are proof of its presence on the Iberian Peninsula as early as 1.6 to 1.7 million years ago. Up until now scientists had dated the appearance of the Iberian lynx to between 1 and 1.1 million years ago. Thus, this discovery means that the emergence of this feline on the Iberian Peninsula actually dates back 500,000 years earlier than what scientists originally thought.
“We have confirmed this earlier appearance of the Iberian lynx based on initial molecular studies that estimate the emergence of this feline during the Early Pleistocene in the Iberian Peninsula,” asserts Alberto Boscaini to SINC, a researcher at the Miquel Crusafont Catalan Institute of Palaeontology (ICP) and the main author of this study published by 'Quaternary Science Reviews'.

Timeline of the evolution of this species

In order to understand the origins of the Iberian Peninsula's most emblematic species and one of the world's most endangered felines according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (UICN), we must first go back in time.

The evolution of 'Lynx pardinus' may have taken place when the Iberian Peninsula became isolated due to several consecutive glacial periods

The common ancestor of all the species belonging to the Lynx genus, Lynxissiodorensis, first appeared in North America about four million years ago before spreading to the continents of Asia and Europe where it persisted throughout time. These species underwent few changes, with the most evident being a decrease in size.

The first species of lynx to evolve was Lynx rufus about 2.5 million years ago when it scattered across North America. In Asia Lynx lynx emerged, the species that would later spread across Europe. This feline also spread across North America about 200,000 years ago, thus giving rise to Lynx canadensis which displaced Lynx rufus towards the south.

The European population of L. issiodorensis led to the appearance of Lynx pardinus one and half million years ago. Since then, this species has endured few changes to its genetics and continues to inhabit the Iberian Peninsula today. According to scientists, this evolution may have taken place when the Iberian Peninsula became isolated due to one or several consecutive glacial periods.

video


The new date provided by the study –1.6 million years ago– lines up with the period of time when all of southern Europe, especially the Iberian Peninsula, became a refuge from the Quaternary glaciation.
Glacial periods alternated with interglacial periods that “greatly influenced wildlife, especially mammals, in that habitat,” the expert adds.

This refuge was also home to the European rabbit (Oryctolagus cunilus), the Iberian lynx's primary prey more than 75% of the time. The morphological analyses carried out on the cranium found in Catalonia confirm the type of diet consumed by this feline.

“Other cranial features - such as those related to this carnivore's diet - are proof that the Iberian lynx hunted small-sized prey such as lagomorphs and rodents which had a great presence during that time period,” the researcher states to SINC.

According to the study, speciation of the Iberian lynx could therefore be related to the special diet still followed by these specimens inhabiting our planet today, including the rabbit as their primary prey.

Reference:
Boscaini, Alberto; Madurell-Malapeira, Joan; Llenas, Manel; Martínez-Navarro, Bienvenido. “The origin of the critically endangered Iberian lynx: Speciation, diet and adaptive changes” Quaternary Science Reviews 123: 247-253 DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2015.07.001 septembre de 2015

source

Your Daily #Cat(s)

Cute lion cub yawning 

Cute lion cub yawning by Tambako The Jaguar


Letsatsi lying 

Letsatsi lying by Tambako The Jaguar

Unique breed of felines christened 'werewolf cats' for their feral appearance and dog-like mannerisms

  • Tennessee-based veterinarian Johnny Gobble, one of three 'foundation breeders' behind the Lykoi cats, said the first litter was born in 2010
  • The new breed has a patchy coat caused by incomplete hair follicles and no hair around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle - it can eve go completely bald 
  • Lykoi cats behave like dog as it has 'a strong prey drive', is friendly and loyal
With Halloween just a few days away animal lovers may be clamoring to dress their pets in pint-sized costumes, however one cat breeder is offering a frighteningly adorable felines that look like mini-werewolves all year round. Lykoi cats get their freaky appearance from a natural mutation in a domestic shorthair that gives the felines werewolf features and prevents them from growing a full coat of fur.  And now the eye-catching - and spooky - appearance of the cats have seen a new trend in breeding the type.

Spook-tacular: The unique Lykoi cats have been nicknamed 'werewolf cats' for their unique appearance and dog-like behavior
Spook-tacular: The unique Lykoi cats have been nicknamed 'werewolf cats' for their unique appearance and dog-like behavior

Moving up: Tennessee-based Lykoi specialist Johnny Gobble and his fellow 'foundation breeders' - his wife Brittney and their colleague Patti Thomas, are championing the breed after testing the cats to ensure they are healthy
Moving up: Tennessee-based Lykoi specialist Johnny Gobble and his fellow 'foundation breeders' - his wife Brittney and their colleague Patti Thomas, are championing the breed after testing the cats to ensure they are healthy

Five years in the making: According to Mr Gobble, a practicing veterinarian, the first litter was born in July 2010
Five years in the making: According to Mr Gobble, a practicing veterinarian, the first litter was born in July 2010

Tennessee-based Lykoi specialist Johnny Gobble and his fellow 'foundation breeders' - his wife Brittney and their colleague Patti Thomas, are championing the breed after testing the cats to ensure they are healthy. According to Mr Gobble, a practicing veterinarian, the first litter was born in July 2010. 

'Our founding cats come from two unrelated litters,' he explained. 'The first litter was presented to Patti as a natural occurring Sphynx mutation. The mother was a black domestic shorthair. Upon receiving the kittens, a brother, sister, and their mother, she knew they were not Sphynx. This confirmation was done with DNA testing for Devon/Sphynx gene which the kittens did not have. The Lykoi Cat's name was the inspiration of Patti. She said Lykoi was the Greek word for wolf, and we all thought it was very fitting - "wolf cat."
The animal has no hair around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle, but has a consistently patchy coat of fur on the rest of its body. 
Halloween favorite: Unsurprisingly, given the time of year, there has been a surge in interest surrounding the cats
Halloween favorite: Unsurprisingly, given the time of year, there has been a surge in interest surrounding the cats

Something special: Lykoi cats get their freaky appearance from a natural mutation in a domestic shorthair that gives the felines werewolf features and prevents them from growing a full coat of fur
Something special: Lykoi cats get their freaky appearance from a natural mutation in a domestic shorthair that gives the felines werewolf features and prevents them from growing a full coat of fur
Something special: Lykoi cats get their freaky appearance from a natural mutation in a domestic shorthair that gives the felines werewolf features and prevents them from growing a full coat of fur

Perfectly healthy: The cats have been examined by dermatologists to ensure that they don't have any skin abnormalities 
Perfectly healthy: The cats have been examined by dermatologists to ensure that they don't have any skin abnormalities 

Creepy cat: They may look spooky, but Lykoi cats are said to make wonderful pets because of their good nature 
They may look spooky, but Lykoi cats are said to make wonderful pets because of their good nature 

THE LYKOI 'WERECAT'

The Lykoi gets its spooky looks because of a genetic mutation in a domestic shorthair cat, which prevents the curious creature from growing a full coat of fur.
Its name comes from the Greek for wolf and translates as ‘wolf cat. The animal has no hair around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle as well as a consistently patchy coat on the rest of its body. It behaves like a dog as it hunts for prey and toys and is also friendly and loyal to owners.

Due to incomplete hair follicles, the cat has a patchy coat, molts, and can go completely bald some of the time. A total of 14 litters of kittens not from the original litter.  Mr Gobble decided that testing would needed to be done to ensure that they were not dealing with disease or disorders causing the hair coat appearance. Infectious disease tests were performed first in his clinic followed by DNA testing. 

have been reported and there are just seven breeders registered in the world. 
Dermatologists at the University of Tennessee examined them for any skin abnormalities. Biopsy samples of the skin were taken but they could find no reason for the coat pattern. 'What they did find is that some hair follicles lacked all the necessary components required to create hair, which is why Lykoi lack an undercoat,' Mr Gobble explained.  'They also found that the follicles that were able to produce hair lacked the proper balance of these components to maintain the hair, which is why Lykoi do molt and can become almost completely bald from time to time.

Mysterious: 'Our cardiologist also performed cardiac scans to look for any structural problems with the hearts,' Mr Gobble said of the cats' unique appearance. 'In the end, we found that the cats are healthy and the hair pattern is not from any known disease or disorder'
Mysterious: 'Our cardiologist also performed cardiac scans to look for any structural problems with the hearts,' Mr Gobble said of the cats' unique appearance. 'In the end, we found that the cats are healthy and the hair pattern is not from any known disease or disorder'

Growing breed: 'It was determined that it was indeed a true natural mutation and the Lykoi breeding program began On September 14th, 2011 we welcomed the first kitten from a Lykoi to Lykoi Cat breeding,' Mr Gobble explained
Growing breed: 'It was determined that it was indeed a true natural mutation and the Lykoi breeding program began On September 14th, 2011 we welcomed the first kitten from a Lykoi to Lykoi Cat breeding,' Mr Gobble explained

Perfect fit: the cats were given the name Lykoi because it means 'wolf' in Greek and therefore seemed fitting
Perfect fit: the cats were given the name Lykoi because it means 'wolf' in Greek and therefore seemed fitting

Random roots: Mr Gobble explained that the mother of the first litter was a black domestic shorthair
Random roots: Mr Gobble explained that the mother of the first litter was a black domestic shorthair

Trick-or-treat: While this Lykoi has fur, some cats from the breed become almost completely bald from time to time
Trick-or-treat: While this Lykoi has fur, some cats from the breed become almost completely bald from time to time

'Our cardiologist also performed cardiac scans to look for any structural problems with the hearts. In the end, we found that the cats are healthy and the hair pattern is not from any known disease or disorder. 

'It was determined that it was indeed a true natural mutation and the Lykoi breeding program began On September 14th, 2011 we welcomed the first kitten from a Lykoi to Lykoi Cat breeding.'  

And while Lykoi are cats that look like werewolves, they actually act like dogs. They are described as having a 'hound dog personality' as they like to hunt around the house for whatever they can find.  Like dogs, Lykoi are scent motivated and very intelligent.

Hairloss: The animal has no fur around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle but has a consistently patchy coat of fur on the rest of its body
Hairloss: The animal has no fur around its eyes, nose, ears and muzzle but has a consistently patchy coat of fur on the rest of its body

Child's best friend: The special breed are said to initially be cautious when meeting strangers, but like most dogs, they warm up quickly and become loyal and friendly
Child's best friend: The special breed are said to initially be cautious when meeting strangers, but like most dogs, they warm up quickly and become loyal and friendly

Loyal friends: Lykois are cats that look like werewolves but act like dogs. They are said to have a 'hound dog personality' because they are always hunting around the house 
Loyal friends: Lykois are cats that look like werewolves but act like dogs. They are said to have a 'hound dog personality' because they are always hunting around the house 

Always on the lookout: Mr Gobble explained on his website that Lykoi cats are always aware of everything going on around them 
Always on the lookout: Mr Gobble explained on his website that Lykoi cats are always aware of everything going on around them 

Too cute: Mr Gobble shares testimonials from his happy customers on his website, and many of the Lykoi owners wrote about how friendly and loving their family pets are 
Too cute: Mr Gobble shares testimonials from his happy customers on his website, and many of the Lykoi owners wrote about how friendly and loving their family pets are 

According to Mr Gobble's breeding website, they are 'aware of everything going on around them'. The special breed are said to initially be cautious to when meeting strangers, but like most dogs, they warm up quickly and become loyal and friendly. 
'They can be clingy at times,' he added, 'but generally if you are too busy to snuggle, they will take "no" as an answer and will go on and amuse themselves... as long as they are close enough to keep an eye on you.' 

On the breeder's website, some of his happy customers have written testimonials about their unique cats. 'Wilbur is a joy to our family,' one pet owner named Barb A. said of her pet. 'At the moment, Wilbur is molting, which is very odd to see. From his head to his shoulders he is balding and from his shoulders down, he is furry. Very unique!'

'I recommend a wolfie for everyone!' she added.  

Caped crusader: Mr Gobble noted that these cats can become 'clingy' at times, but they typically will go an amuse themselves if you tell them 'no' 
Caped crusader: Mr Gobble noted that these cats can become 'clingy' at times, but they typically will go an amuse themselves if you tell them 'no' 

Play date: Many of Mr Gobbler's customers said that the cats get along well with other humans - as well as other felines 
Play date: Many of Mr Gobbler's customers said that the cats get along well with other humans - as well as other felines 

Seasonal portrait: This Lykoi cat looks adorable as it poses on a small bale of hay while donning a kerchief around its neck 
Seasonal portrait: This Lykoi cat looks adorable as it poses on a small bale of hay while donning a kerchief around its neck 

Not catty: While most cats can be aloof, this breed is known for being affectionate and friendly
Not catty: While most cats can be aloof, this breed is known for being affectionate and friendly
Not catty: While most cats can be aloof, this breed is known for being affectionate and friendly 

Fascinating to watch: One pet owner said it was interesting to watch her pet Lykoi molt, noting the process left her cat with a 'unique look' 
Fascinating to watch: One pet owner said it was interesting to watch her pet Lykoi molt, noting the process left her cat with a 'unique look' 

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