New species of prehistoric cats that lived about 15.5 million years ago were discovered in Spain
Scientists have found a new prehistoric cat species that lived in what is now Spain about 15.5 million years ago.
This discovery sheds more light on the diversity of felines at that time, writes the Independent. According to the scientists, the cat species, called Magerifelis peignei, belonged to a subgroup of small carnivorous cats. Their behavior was similar to that of Iberian lynxes, which strangled "medium-sized prey" after biting its throat, the scientists explained.
The new species was identified based on fossils discovered in 2007 at the Príncipe Pio-2 site near Madrid. Back then, researchers discovered well-preserved remains of the jaw bones of a prehistoric cat.
"The specimen is in such excellent condition that almost all the dentition and mandibular structures are present. The specimen is one of the most complete fossils of early felines known to date," the researchers noted.
Representatives of the medium-sized feline family lived in the Middle Miocene era about 15.5 million years ago and may have "bitten hard during hunting," the scientists allowed.