The wildcat's direct ancestor was Felis lunensis, or Martelli's wildcat, which lived in Europe as early as the late Pliocene. Fossil remains of the wildcat are common in cave deposits dating from the last ice age and the Holocene. The European wildcat first appeared in its current form 2 million years ago, and reached the British Isles from mainland Europe 9000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age. During the Late Pleistocene (possibly 50,000 years ago), the wildcat migrated from Europe into the Middle East, giving rise to the steppe wildcat phenotype. Within possibly 10,000 years, the steppe wildcat spread eastwards into Asia and southwards to Africa.
The wildcat's closest living relatives are the sand cat, the Chinese mountain cat (which may be a subspecies of wildcat), the jungle cat and the black-footed cat. As a whole, the wildcat (along with the jungle and leopard cat) represents a much less specialised form than the sand cat and manul. However, wildcat subspecies of the lybica group do exhibit some further specialisation, namely in the structure of the auditory bullae, which bears similarity to those of the sand cat and manul.
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Famous quotes containing the word origins:
“The settlement of America had its origins in the unsettlement of Europe. America came into existence when the European was already so distant from the ancient ideas and ways of his birthplace that the whole span of the Atlantic did not widen the gulf.”
—Lewis Mumford (18951990)
“Compare the history of the novel to that of rock n roll. Both started out a minority taste, became a mass taste, and then splintered into several subgenres. Both have been the typical cultural expressions of classes and epochs. Both started out aggressively fighting for their share of attention, novels attacking the drama, the tract, and the poem, rock attacking jazz and pop and rolling over classical music.”
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“Grown onto every inch of plate, except
Where the hinges let it move, were living things,
Barnacles, mussels, water weedsand one
Blue bit of polished glass, glued there by time:
The origins of art.”
—Howard Moss (b. 1922)