New Species of Wildcat Has Been Discovered ~ Kwentology

Now get ready because we're talking a whole new species of cuteness. In Wednesday's issue of the Journal Current Biology. Brazilian geneticists introduced the world to a new species of wildcat. The new species was hiding in plain sight. Mistakenly lumped in with a different one. This is something biologist sometimes called a cryptic species. The house-cat size preferred to the same size of domesticated cats. The wildcat known as Leopardus Tigrinus or oncilla. Lives throughout Central and South America.

Finding Out What is the Real Score?

But biologists have disagreed about whether there are actually multiple species of them. Various populations of the cat have lots of physical differences. And they also seem to prefer different habitats. So, biologists sequenced the DNA of two oncilla populations. Then, compared them to two different species of Brazilian wildcats—the Pampas cat and Geoffroy's cat. They found that the two oncilla group shared more genetic markers with those other cats than they did with each other. This suggests that there's no gene flow between the two populations and they're actually two distinct species. The new species in the south of Brazil is now recognized as 'Leopardus Guttulus'.

Image of Brazilian Wildcat

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