The Felidae family consists of 2 subfamilies (Pantherniae and Felinae) and 4 extant genera (Felis, Neofelis, Panthera, and also Acinonyx) and also 38 species.

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Subfamily: Pantherinae

Panthera has lions, tigers, jaguars, and also leopards.

Cats in this grouping have actually the ability to "roar" yet not "purr". (See "Purring" vs. "Roaring" Cats section in Communication.)

Roaring occurs as result of "ossified hyoid and both divided and undivided vocal folds". This statement describes the twiglike hyoid skeleton in the neck that aid to anchor the tongue in place. These larger-sized cats have tongues additional secured in ar with a longer size of challenging cartilage that starts at the hyoid bones and also ends in the skull. This prevents a member of Panthera from purring however is flexible enough to permit their larynx the capacity to roar.

Most in this family members prefer to make various other sounds (snarling, hissing, grunting, yowling, coughing) — the lion is the just Panthera member that roars regularly.

Subfamily: Felinae

Felinae has all non-roaring cat (cheetah, lynx, bobcat, caracal, puma, fishing cat, ocelot, margay, jaguarundi, and serval).

Cats in this grouping have the capacity to "purr" but not "roar". (See "Purring" vs. "Roaring" Cats ar in Communication.)

Purring occurs because of "imperfect ossified hyoid and undivided vocal folds". This statement describes the twiglike hyoid skeletal in the neck that aid to anchor the tongue in place, which, when an unified with a Felinae"s ability to vibrate its larynx, produce a purring sound.

No one to know why those in this subfamily occurred the ability to purr, yet one theory suggests the mommy Felinae started to purr to aid mask and also camouflage the mewing sound her breakable kittens made throughout nursing.


The serval (Leptailurus serval) is in the subfamily Felinae with the cheetah.

Genus, Species

Genus: Acinonyx

The cheetah is the just cat varieties in this genus together they space the only form of Felidae that cannot completely retract that is claws.

Species: jubatus


There are 5 recognized cheetah subspecies:

A. J. Hecki: Northwest Africa

A. J. Fearsoni: eastern Africa

A. J. Jubatus: southern Africa

A. J. Soemmerringi: Northeast Africa

A. J. Venaticus: phibìc Africa to main India

"Cheetah" is obtained from the Hindi word Chita, meaning "spotted one".

Acinonyx means "no move claw" in Greek — a recommendation to its non-retractile claws.

The hair ~ above a cheetah is much longer on the nape than somewhere else — this attribute is an ext visible top top cubs together the mane is an ext pronounced and extends end the head, neck, and also back. The word jubatus means "mane" or "crested" in Latin — most likely this is in referral to the mane found on cheetah when they space cubs.


Fossil Record

An explanation for the rate of the pronghorn may have been the presence of cheetah species which would have hunted then at one time on the phibìc American continent.

Recent comprehensive DNA studies shows proof that every living cats have the right to be traced back to panther-like predators that existed in south east Asia 10.8 million years ago.

Once taken into consideration alone in separate subfamily, cheetahs have now been grouped with pumas (Puma concolor) and jaguarundis (Puma jagouaroundi) according to in-depth DNA analysis. This group diverged part 6.9 million year ago.

It is believed that the cheetah may have actually originated in phibìc America prior to spreading come Eurasia and Africa. Pronghorns, the fastest animal in phibìc America, reaches speed of up to 60 mph — much faster than any living north America predator consisting of coyotes, wolves, and also pumas. One explanation to their superior rate is the such acceleration to be needed versus the threat of previous north American cheetah species, i m sorry likely pursued them in the past.

Two extinction cheetah-like cats are known to have actually existed in phibìc America — Miracinonyx inexpectata and also M. Trumani. Based on a almost complete skeleton found at Hamilton Cave, West Virginia, M. Inexpectata was larger than A. Jubatus and had fully retractable claws. Based on hundreds the bones discovered at natural Trap cave in Wyoming, M. Trumani was bigger but comparable to A. Jubatus.

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The oldest cheetah fossils, discovered in eastern and southern Africa, are roughly 3.5 come 3 million year old. Beforehand fossils of A. Jubatus were uncovered in north Tanzania, Africa. A. Jubatus is believed to have existed 3 million year ago, approximately the very same time together the now extinct Acinonyx pardinensis, one Eurasian cheetah varieties that was around the very same size together today"s lion varieties (Panthera leo).