Big cats may have come from Asia, fossil study finds

11/12/2013 | Los Angeles Times (tiered subscription model)

Big cats may have evolved in Asia and not Africa, a new study suggests, after fossils of a previously unknown leopard species were found in Tibet. The fossils date back 4.1 million to 5.9 million years, almost 2 million years earlier than when big cats were thought to have evolved, according to the study published online in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Panthera blytheae, discovered by paleontologists from the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles and the University of Southern California while on an expedition in Tibet in 2010, is an ancestor of the modern snow leopard.

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