Reconstruction of Megantereon cultridens, copyright Mauricio Antón.

Belongs within: Aeluroidea.
Contains: Panthera, Leopardus, Lynx, Puma, Felis.

The Felidae are the cats, big and small, a family of hypercarnivorous carnivorans native to all continents except Australia and Antarctica. Most cats are relatively solitary, with some notable exceptions (such as the lion Panthera leo). Living cats are all included in the subfamily Felinae; the subfamily Machairodontinae includes the extinct sabre-toothed cats. The Felinae are generally divided between the 'big cats' and 'small cats'; the former are all classified in the genus Panthera except the clouded leopard Neofelis nebulosa, a heavily built, arboreal cat found in south-east Asia. The cheetah Acinonyx jubatus is a large, lanky, highly cursorial cat found historically over much of Africa and southern Asia, though its range has become greatly contracted outside southern African and it is nearly extinct in Asia.

Synapomorphies (from Flynn et al. 1988): Cheek teeth reduced to P3-2/2, M1/1; small chisel-like incisors arranged in straight transverse line; crushing function of molars entirely lost, M1 reduced to small transverse bar, M1 lacking talonid and metaconid; skull with short rostrum and facial area and short inflated braincase; orbits large, vision stereoscopic; tongue covered with numerous posteriorly-directed horny papillae.

    |--Machairodontidae S78
    |    |--Smilodon Plieninger 1846 M84, D07
    |    |    |--S. californicus D07
    |    |    |--S. fatalis YC04
    |    |    |--S. floridus D07
    |    |    |--S. gracilis V91
    |    |    `--S. populator V91
    |    |--Homotherium Fabrini 1890 S78, D07
    |    |    |--H. crenatidens ME05
    |    |    |--H. ethiopicum S78
    |    |    |--H. latidens ME05
    |    |    |--H. problematicus (Colling 1972) [=Megantereon problematicus] S78
    |    |    `--H. serus ME05
    |    |--Machairodus Kaup 1833 D07 [incl. Epimachairodus S78]
    |    |    |--M. africanus D07
    |    |    |--M. aphanistus S78
    |    |    |--M. coloradensis D07
    |    |    |--M. giganteus D07
    |    |    |--M. oradensis D07
    |    |    |--M. palanderi DW04
    |    |    `--M. transvaalensis S78
    |    `--Megantereon S78
    |         |--M. cultridens D07
    |         |--M. eurynodon S78
    |         |--M. falconeri D07
    |         |--M. gracile S78
    |         |--M. inexpectatus D07
    |         |--M. nihowanense DW04
    |         |--M. praecox S78
    |         `--M. whitei S78
    `--Felinae JE06
         |--+--Panthera JE06
         |  `--Neofelis nebulosa JE06
         |       |--N. n. nebulosa K84
         |       `--N. n. brachyurus K84
         `--+--Pardofelis JE06
            |    |--P. marmorata [=Felis marmorata] JE06
            |    `--+--P. badia [=Felis badia] JE06
            |       `--P. temminckii [=Felis temmincki] JE06
            `--+--Caracal JE06
               |    |--+--C. aurata JE06 [=Felis (Profelis) aurata S78]
               |    |  `--C. caracal Schreber 1776 JE06, G91 [=Felis (Lynx) caracal S78]
               |    `--C. (Leptailurus) S78
               |         |--‘Felis (Leptailurus) brachyura S78
               |         `--C. (L.) serval Screber 1776 JE06, S78, G91 [=Felis (L.) serval S78; incl. F. servalina BP87]
               |              |--C. s. serval USDI77
               |              `--‘Felis’ s. constantina USDI77
               `--+--Leopardus JE06
                  `--+--Lynx JE06
                     `--+--+--Puma JE06
                        |  `--Acinonyx Brookes 1828 JE06, G91
                        |       |--A. jubatus (Schreber 1776) K92 [incl. Felis guttata Hermann 1804 G91, A. rex F84]
                        |       |    |--A. j. jubatus F84
                        |       |    `--A. j. venaticus F84
                        |       `--A. pardinensis ME05
                        `--+--Felis JE06
                           `--+--Otocolobus manul [=Felis manul] JE06
                              `--Prionailurus JE06
                                   |--P. rubiginosus [=Felis rubiginosus] JE06
                                   `--+--P. planiceps [=Felis planiceps] JE06
                                      `--+--P. bengalensis [=Felis bengalensis] JE06
                                         `--P. viverrinus [=Felis viverrina] JE06

Felidae incertae sedis:
  Mayailurus iriomotensis Imaizumi 1967 M76
  Dinofelis Zdasky 1924 YC04, D07
    |--D. abeli S78
    |--D. barlowi S78
    |--D. cristata D07
    |--D. diastemata [=*Therailurus diastemata] S78
    |--D. paleoonco D07
    |--D. piveteaui S78
    `--D. therailurus D07
  Metailurus minor DW04
  Pseudaelurus guangheensis DW04
  Afrosmilus africanus [=Metailurus africanus] S78
  Nimravides galiani V91
  Miracinonyx Adams 1979 V91, D07
    |--M. inexpectatus V91
    `--M. trumani D07
  Dendrailurus Severtzow 1858 (n. d.) C57
    `--‘Felis’ lineata Swainson 1838 [incl. F. strigilata Wagner 1841] C57
  Catopuma IT07
    |--C. badia IT07
    `--C. temminckii IT07

Inorganic: Acinonyx jubatus protominilorientalus Okamura 1987 O87
           Felis serval minilorientalis Okamura 1987 O87

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BP87] Burton, J. A., & B. Pearson. 1987. Collins Guide to the Rare Mammals of the World. Collins: London.

[C57] Cabrera, A. 1957. Catalogo de los mamiferos de America del Sur. I (Metatheria—Unguiculata—Carnivora). Revista del Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” e Instituto Nacional de Investigacion de Las Ciencias Naturales, Ciencias Zoológicas 4 (1): 1–307.

[DW04] Deng T., Wang X., Ni X. & Liu L. 2004. Sequence of the Cenozoic mammalian faunas of the Linxia Basin in Gansu, China. Acta Geologica Sinica (English Edition) 78 (1): 8–14.

[D07] Dixon, D. 2007. The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs & Prehistoric Creatures. Hermes House: London.

Flynn, J. J., N. A. Neff & R. H. Tedford. 1988. Phylogeny of the Carnivora. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Phylogeny and Classification of the Tetrapods vol. 2. Mammals pp. 73–116. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

[F84] Frame, G. W. 1984. Cheetah. In: Macdonald, D. (ed.) All the World’s Animals: Carnivores pp. 32–33. Torstar Books Inc.: New York.

[G91] Groves, C. P. 1991. A Theory of Human and Primate Evolution, revised ed. Clarendon Press: Oxford.

[IT07] Isaac, N. J. B., S. T. Turvey, B. Collen, C. Waterman & J. E. M. Baillie. 2007. Mammals on the EDGE: conservation priorities based on threat and phylogeny. PloS One 2 (3): e296.

[JE06] Johnson, W. E., E. Eizirik, J. Pecon-Slattery, W. J. Murphy, A. Antunes, E. Teeling & S. J. O’Brien. 2006. The Late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: a genetic assessment. Science 311: 73–77.

[K84] Kerby, G. 1984. Other big cats. In: Macdonald, D. (ed.) All the World’s Animals: Carnivores pp. 40–41. Torstar Books Inc.: New York.

[K92] Klompen, J. S. H. 1992. Phylogenetic relationships in the mite family Sarcoptidae (Acari: Astigmata). Miscellaneous Publications, Museum of Zoology, University of Michigan 180: i–vi, 1–154.

[M84] Macdonald, D. W. 1984. Carnivores. In: Macdonald, D. (ed.) All the World’s Animals: Carnivores pp. 10–17. Torstar Books Inc.: New York.

[M76] Masui, M. 1976. Nihon no Doobutsu. Kogakukan: Tokyo.

[ME05] Moullé, P.-E., A. Echassoux, F. Lacombat, E. Desclaux & S. Bailon. 2005. L’environnement animal des premiers habitants de l’Europe méditerranéenne: les grands mammifères contemporains de l’homme du Vallonnet, données taxonomiques et biostratigraphiques pour la deuxième moitie du Pléistocène inférieur. BAR International Series 1364: 105–113.

[O87] Okamura, C. 1987. New facts: Homo and all Vertebrata were born simultaneously in the former Paleozoic in Japan. Original Report of the Okamura Fossil Laboratory 15: 347–573.

[S78] Savage, R. J. G. 1978. Carnivora. In: Maglio, V. J., & H. B. S. Cooke (eds) Evolution of African Mammals pp. 249–267. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[USDI77] USDI (United States Department of the Interior). 1977. Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants—republication of list of species. Federal Register 42: 36420–36431.

[V91] Valkenburgh, B. van. 1991. Iterative evolution of hypercarnivory in canids (Mammalia: Carnivora): evolutionary interactions among sympatric predators. Paleobiology 17 (4): 340–362.

[YC04] Yamaguchi, N., A. Cooper, L. Werdelin & D. W. Macdonald. 2004. Evolution of the mane and group-living in the lion (Panthera leo): a review. Journal of Zoology 263: 329–342.

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