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Did cats really disappear from North America for 7 million years?


Manwon Lender
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Domestic cats sometimes disappear for days at a time before, generally speaking, turning up safe and sound. But this relatively short vanishing act is nothing compared with the "cat gap" — a period in the fossil record from approximately 25 million to 18.5 million years ago when cats and cat-like species seem to have "disappeared" from North America for almost 7 million years. So, what is the reason for this gap? Is it just another example of the baffling behavior of cats, such as their penchant for sitting in boxes or running around in random bursts of speed without the slightest provocation? Did they grow tired of North America? Could it all be a misunderstanding?

Various theories have been suggested, ranging from cats and cat-like species moving away from North America to find better hunting grounds, to them being impacted by global cooling from volcanic eruptions (which have caused other mass extinction events in different time periods) to conditions at the time not being suitable for fossilization. But, according to Carlo Meloro, a vertebrate palaeontologist at the Liverpool John Moores University in the U.K., only so much can be concluded based on current knowledge and evidence. As for those ideas, they shouldn't be considered as anything other than guesswork, according to Meloro.

https://www.livescience.com/why-cat-gap-north-america-fossils

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My guess would be a few things.  

Many of them may have migrated to find better hunting grounds.  Less cats would mean less fossils.  Perhaps a strong global cooling also took place around the same time period. 

"conditions at the time not being suitable for fossilization"  - should be easy to figure out by seeing if other creatures fossils are still available around the same time.

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1 hour ago, Myles said:

My guess would be a few things.  

Many of them may have migrated to find better hunting grounds.  Less cats would mean less fossils.  Perhaps a strong global cooling also took place around the same time period. 

"conditions at the time not being suitable for fossilization"  - should be easy to figure out by seeing if other creatures fossils are still available around the same time.

You make some good points, but when I  really think about it at least to me, it seems strange and 7 million years is long time!

 

 

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It's worth bearing in mind that 99.99% of animals don't get fossilised and 99.99% of those that do have yet to be found.

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