Are Dogs And Cats Related?


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Kath Senior answered
Dogs and cats are separate species of mammal. They cannot interbreed and, quite often, they are sworn enemies. However, in evolutionary terms, they are quite closely related.

Dogs and cats are members of the family Cynofelidae, which is one of the members of the Arctoidae superfamily, which also includes the weasels, racoons, pandas, bears, civets and hyenas. Dogs are classified in the Canidae family whilst cats are placed in the family Felidae.
The oldest Canidae fossils date back to almost 40 million years ago, where dog-like mammals probably roamed the Earth in the Eocene period. The fossils were found in America and zoologists who have studied them speculate that dogs have spread out from North America towards South America and through the Bering Strait to Eurasia (now Europe).

The earliest fossils of animals from the cat family were found in rock in South America dating back to 15 million years ago. The cats are divided into two subfamilies; the panthers and felines, and then the cheetah, which is in a class of its own as far as classification specialists are concerned.

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