Paleontologists from the United States and China, working in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, have uncovered what might be the oldest fossils from a big cat to ever have been discovered.
Paleontologists from the United States and China, working in the Himalayan Mountains of Tibet, have uncovered what might be the oldest big cat fossils discovered to date..
Researchers found fragments of three skulls from the same species, one of which was remarkably intact.
The skulls are from a previously unknown species, and according to scientific analysis, they are from between 4 point 1 and 5 point 95 million years old.
There are still questions about how big cats evolved into the variety of species that exist today, including whether they originated in Africa or Asia, because there is a disconnect between the DNA data and information from the fossil record.
Doctor Manabu Sakamoto from the University of Bristol, an expert on big cat evolution said: “The discovery presents strong support for the Asian origin hypothesis for the big cats. It gives us a great insight into what early big cats may have looked like and where they may have lived.”
Other experts still think that the discovery of these fossils isn’t enough evidence to definitively end the discussion, because the DNA record still poses some unanswered questions.