Cats Drove Ancient Dog Species to Extinction

Friday, August 14, 2015

Cat Power

Scientists from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, São Paulo, Brazil and Lausanne, Switzerland have announced that competition from cats in the past drove many dog species to extinction. The announcement was made after they analysed more than 2000 fossils from the dog family.

Scientists in this case stated that arrival of felids (cat family) in North America had a deadly impact on the diversity of dogs which caused extinction of as many as 40 species. Climate changes generally play a significant role in the evolution of biology but this was not the case with dogs. In fact, food shortage because of felids’ arrival caused canines to disappear slowly.

Dogs first appeared in North America around 40 million years ago and they reached their zenith 22 million years ago when as many as 30 species walked the continent. Today North America has only 9 species from the canine family. One of the prime reasons that led to their extinction was their inability to obtain food because of limited resources and competition.