Just like the debate of what came first – egg or chicken, there is an equally intense debate on who is cuter – cats or dogs? Any animal lover will struggle to answer this question because it not only runs them mad, trying to settle on one answer, but are also endless.
However, at least from the evolutionary outlook, a new study has proved that cats if not cuter, were much stronger and threatening to the dogs – otherwise considered to be dominating over cats, and it was the former’s hard competition that resulted in the extinction 40 dog species.
The study indicated that more than alteration of climate it was this competition that played such a menacing role to the dogs that the latter’s clan evolved and contributed to its diversity – wolves, foxes and their peers.
A global research team belonging from the Universities of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Lausanne, Switzerland, and Gothenburg, Sweden conducted a research on more than 2,000 fossils and divulged that the diversity of the dog clan was massively impacted by the entrance of felids from Asia to North America
For the study, a global research team belonging from the Universities of Brazil, Switzerland and Sweden conducted a research on more than 2,000 fossils and divulged that the diversity of the dog clan was massively impacted by the immigration of felids from Asia to North America.
Daniele Silvestro who is the chief author and is associated to University of Gothenburg in Sweden explained that for the “canid” dog community more than the climate change that everyone believed to play “an overwhelming role” in the progression of biodiversity, “competition among different carnivore species proved to be even more important.”
Deriving in North America some 40 million years before, the dog community reached the peak of their diversity only 22 million years before, when over 30 species thrived in the continent. The sizes of these species gradually escalated and turned them into huge predators, with a few of them surpassing 66 pounds (30 kg) weight. Even though various huge carnivores suffer from an elevated risk of extinction even today compared to the smaller species, the researchers couldn’t find an evidence of the same repetition in olden canid kinds.
But the question remained how did cats competed against dogs?
The study explained that the success of evolution in carnivores inexorably related to their potentiality to acquire food. Carnivores thriving in the same geographic scale felt a strong competition when the resources for their survival – preys in their case became less and inadequate.
For example, wild dogs, lions, hyenas and other felids that belong to the group of African carnivores regularly contest against each other for food, and the study informed that North American carnivores might have indulged in similar contest as well with majority of the clash occurring among dog species and olden felids and dogs.
Pointing the intriguing fact, the researchers said that while felids proved to have had a major impact on the existence of dog species, the opposite is untrue. This reflected that felids certainly were more competent predator as compared to the majority of the extinct dog species.
The study has been published in the journal PNAS.