New Species of Prehistoric Cat Found With ‘Highly effective Chunk’

Paleontologists have recognized a beforehand unknown species of prehistoric cat that lived greater than 15 million years in the past and sure had a strong chew.

The brand new medium-sized feline species, which has been named Magerifelis peignei, was described based mostly on a fossil recovered in 2007 in Madrid, in response to a workforce of researchers with the nation’s Nationwide Museum of Pure Sciences (MNCN-CSIC).

The fossil, which consists of a jawbone, got here to mild throughout enchancment works for an underground public transport interchange situated below the Príncipe Pío station and an adjoining buying middle. These works uncovered a paleontological website relationship to the Miocene interval, round 23 million to five million years in the past.

The invention of the prehistoric cat fossil has vital implications for understanding the evolution of felines provided that the newest species—described within the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology—represents a brand new kind, that includes primitive tooth and a “very sturdy” jaw.

Artist’s life reconstruction of Magerifelis peignei. The newly recognized feline was described based mostly on fossils present in Madrid.

J. Gamarra/Salesa et al., Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 2024

“In 2007, an fascinating paleontological website from the center Miocene was found in Príncipe Pío. Some of the excellent fossils of the recovered materials was a jaw of a small feline, whose research we’ve simply revealed within the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology,” MNCN researcher Manuel Salesa, an writer of the research, mentioned in a press launch.

The recovered jawbone of Magerifelis peignei is virtually full and preserves nearly the entire tooth in “distinctive” situation.

Essentially the most stunning commentary is that the feline had a tiny decrease second molar—a tooth absent in all present and fossil cats besides Proailurus, the oldest identified feline within the fossil report.

The jaw of the newly described cat is “very sturdy” in comparison with that of equally sized felines, which suggests it will have been able to withstanding important pressure throughout biting.

“Along with this resistance to pressure, the muscle mass liable for the chew have extremely developed insertion areas, indicative of comparatively bigger muscle plenty than these of different felines of comparable dimension,” Salesa mentioned.

This means that M. peignei, which additionally represents a completely new genus (group of species), was in all probability capable of exert “highly effective bites.” Because of this, it was seemingly able to quickly killing comparatively bigger prey than that of similarly-sized felines dwelling immediately.

Throughout the center Miocene, round 15 million years in the past, the local weather of Madrid was hotter than it’s immediately whereas the panorama was dominated by intensive wooded meadows with forested patches the place quite a few animal species discovered refuge.

On this setting lived ungulates of varied sizes, resembling Hispanotherium matritense—an extinct rhinoceros tailored to consuming grass. These animals have been accompanied by mastodons (massive, elephant-like creatures), paleomericids (deer-like ruminants), bovids, three-toed horses and wild boars.

A number of carnivores additionally inhabited the area, together with massive bears, mustelids (a various household of carnivorous mammals together with weasels, badgers and otters, amongst others) and small cats.

Newsweek has reached out to the writer of this research for remark through electronic mail.

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