Further to: Life continues to ignore what evolution experts say (Hmm. Maybe the experts should just fire all the current life forms and get themselves different ones?):
The other week, I was buying a sack of dry cat food at the feed mill. At the checkout, I noticed a really, really big cat sitting on the counter.
He was about three times as big as a typical Ottawa kitty.
Could stand up to a police dog.
A helpful individual explained to me that he is the only registered Savannah cat in the area. The Savannah is a hybrid of the African serval and the European shorthair— our local rescue kitties).
I was also told not to worry about him:
He is a therapy cat.
(Wondered what kind of therapy he’d be doing, but that wasn’t really my business at the time.)
Felines seem to hybridize quite readily, and I vaguely remembered some trivia about lions and tigers:
Female tigons and ligers have often proved to be fertile and can mate with a lion, tiger or in theory with another species such as leopard or jaguar. Tigons and ligers have been mated together to produce ti-ligers (tig-ligers). Tigers and tigons have been mated to produce ti-tigons. Ti-ligers and ti-tigons are more tigerlike (75% tiger). Ti-tigons resemble golden tigers but with less contrast in their markings. During the late 1970s/early 1980s, the Shambala Preserve had both a tigon and a ti-tigon. Noelle, the tigon, was born in 1978. Believing that big cats are always infertile, staff allowed Noelle to share an enclosure with a male Siberian tiger called Anton. In 1983, Noelle produced a ti-tigon name Nathaniel. Being 75% tiger, Nathaniel had darker stripes than his mother and he “spoke” tiger rather than the mix of sounds used by his mother. Being only 25% lion, Nathaniel did not grow a mane.
One reason big cats mightn’t hybridize apart from human intervention is that they don’t live close to each other.
I still think, if you need therapy, get a teddy bear. 😉
See also: Talk to the fossils: Let’s see what they say back
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