One of sixteen such known “cat-fox” felines in northern Corsica was captured:
While resembling a domestic cat in some ways, the ring-tailed feline measures 90 centimetres (35 inches) from head to tail, has “very wide” ears, short whiskers and “highly developed” canine teeth.Maureen Cofflard, “Corsica’s ‘cat-fox’: On the trail of what may be a new species” at Phys.org
That’s impressive! Toby, one of the editorial assistants at Uncommon Descent News, is a feline who is only 70 cm (30 inches) from head to tail. And those “cat-fox” teeth are amazing! But …
“By looking at its DNA, we could tell it apart from the European wildcat, Felis silvestris silvestris. It’s close to the African forest cat, Felis silvestris lybica, but its exact identity is still to be determined,” Benedetti adds.Maureen Cofflard, “Corsica’s ‘cat-fox’: On the trail of what may be a new species” at Phys.org
The odd thing is that no data are offered to the public as to why the subject is not just a “feral cat,” a cat who lives around but not with humans. How much do the genetic differences matter? If the cat-fox found itself among feral cats, would it just blend in? If it would, why doesn’t that matter to classification?
To what extent has the “biological species concept” become a mere means of generating publicity for research or political action for environmental causes? The research and causes are doubtless worthwhile but we still seek an informative classification method.
By the way, this cat can’t be related to the fox. No one specifically makes that claim but it is left hanging.
See also: Researchers: Purebred dogs are not biological species
A physicist looks at biology’s problem of “speciation” in humans
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