20 million years ago


The next notable cat fossil record of Pseudaelurus appeared during the Miocene period, around 20 million years ago.  At about the same time that the cat appeared on the evolutionary timeline in South East Asia, Pseudaelurus, regarded as the ancestor of all modern cats, crossed over the Bering land bridge, which connected Siberia and Alaska.  Various species of Pseudaelurus could be found in Europe, Asia and even North America after their migration.  Ranging in size from that of a house cat to a cougar, fossil finds indicate that there were about twelve species of the ancient cat.

Throughout this period, cats migrated back and forth from Asia to the Americas, not less than 10 times, and consequently evolved into a variety of species and lineages inhabiting all continents except the Arctic, Antarctica and Australia.  Some species such as the cheetah and lynx migrated from the New World back to the Old where we find them today.  Fossils resembling our present day small house cats date back to 12 million years ago.

Bering land bridge area today., Pseudaelurus

Bering land bridge area today. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



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