Ten Amazing Small Wild Cats- page 10 | Science | Smithsonian
A serval kitten. (© Anup Shah/Corbis)

Ten Amazing Small Wild Cats

Forget the lions and tigers, these prowling felines have much more to tell us about the natural world

smithsonian.com

Wildcat

Compared to other small cats around the world, the wildcat looks rather plain. They’re not so different from the purring felines that live in our homes. There’s a good reason for that. Wildcats are the probable ancestors of the housecats, with the genetic trail for the split between wild and domestic cats going back to about 10,000 years ago in the Fertile Crescent. The cats live elsewhere – from western Europe through southern Africa and Asia. Wildcats are a little larger, are stockier, and have longer tails than their domestic descendants, but they are the recognizable template from which our domestic moggies descended. 

About Brian Switek
Brian Switek

Brian Switek is a freelance science writer specializing in evolution, paleontology, and natural history. He writes regularly for National Geographic's Phenomena blog as Laelaps.

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