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

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Subfamily: Pantherinae

Panthera contains lions, tigers, jaguars, and leopards.

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

Roaring occurs because of "ossified hyoid and also both divided and also undivided vocal folds". This statement describes the twiglike hyoid skeletal in the neck that assist to anchor the tongue in place. These larger-sized cats have tongues more secured in place with a longer length of hard cartilage that starts at the hyoid bones and ends in the skull. This prevents a member of Panthera native purring yet is flexible enough to permit their larynx the capability to roar.

Most in this household prefer come make various other sounds (snarling, hissing, grunting, yowling, coughing) — the lion is the only Panthera member that roars regularly.

Subfamily: Felinae

Felinae has all non-roaring cats (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 section in Communication.)

Purring occurs because of "imperfect ossified hyoid and undivided vocal folds". This statement describes the twiglike hyoid bones in the neck that help to anchor the tongue in place, which, when linked with a Felinae"s capability to vibrate the larynx, produces a purring sound.

No one knows why those in this subfamily developed the capability to purr, yet one theory argues the mom Felinae began to purr to help mask and also camouflage the mewing sound her delicate kittens made throughout nursing.


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

Genus, Species

Genus: Acinonyx

The cheetah is the only cat species in this genus as they are the only kind of Felidae that cannot completely retract that is claws.

Species: jubatus


There are five recognized cheetah subspecies:

A. J. Hecki: Northwest Africa

A. J. Fearsoni: east Africa

A. J. Jubatus: southern Africa

A. J. Soemmerringi: Northeast Africa

A. J. Venaticus: phibìc Africa to main India

"Cheetah" is acquired from the Hindi native Chita, definition "spotted one".

Acinonyx method "no relocate claw" in Greek — a reference to the non-retractile claws.

The hair ~ above a cheetah is longer on the nape than in other places — this attribute is much more visible on cubs together the mane is much more pronounced and also extends end the head, neck, and back. Words jubatus way "mane" or "crested" in Latin — likely this is in reference to the mane discovered on cheetah when they space cubs.


Fossil Record

An explanation because that the rate of the pronghorn may have been the presence of cheetah types which would have actually hunted then at one time on the phibìc American continent.

Recent thorough DNA researches shows proof that every living cats deserve to be traced ago to panther-like predators the existed in south-east Asia 10.8 million year ago.

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

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

Two extinct cheetah-like cat are recognized to have existed in north America — Miracinonyx inexpectata and M. Trumani. Based upon a virtually complete skeleton uncovered at Hamilton Cave, West Virginia, M. Inexpectata was bigger than A. Jubatus and had fully retractable claws. Based on hundreds of bones uncovered at herbal Trap cavern in Wyoming, M. Trumani was bigger but comparable to A. Jubatus.

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