Felis lunensis (Martelli's cat) is an extinct felid of the subfamily Felinae. Around 12 million years ago, the genus Felis appeared and eventually gave rise to many of the modern small cats. Felis lunensis was one of the first modern Felis species, appearing around 2.5 million years ago in the Pliocene. Fossil specimens of F. lunensis have been recovered in Italy and Hungary. Fossil evidence suggests the modern European wildcat Felis silvestris may have evolved from F. lunensis during the Middle Pleistocene. This has resulted in F. lunensis occasionally being considered a subspecies of Felis silvestris.
|Fragment of f. lunensis fossilized jawbone, at Museo di Paleontologia di Firenze|
Felis silvestris lunensis
Felis lunensis first described by Ugolino Martelli in 1906 was a mandible excavated in Pliocene deposits near Olivola in Tuscany. The holotype specimen is now preserved in the collection of the University of Florence in Italy.
- The Paleobiology Database Felis lunensis entry Accessed on 14 March 2010
- Yamaguchi, N.; Driscoll, C. A.; Kitchener, A.C.; Ward, J. M.; Macdonald, D. W. (2004). "Craniological differentiation between European wildcats (Felis silvestris silvestris), African wildcats (F. s. lybica) and Asian wildcats (F. s. ornata): implications for their evolution and conservation" (PDF). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society. 83: 47–63. doi:10.1111/j.1095-8312.2004.00372.x.
- Martelli, A. (1906). "Su due Mustelidi e un Felide del Pliocene Toscano" [About two Mustelids and one Felid of Pliocene Toscana]. Bollettino della Società Geologica Italiana. 25: 595–612.
- Cioppi, E.; Mazzini M. (1983). "Catalogue of type specimens in the vertebrate collections of the museum of geology and paleontology of the University of Florence (Italy). II: Carnivora, Felidae". Atti della Societa Toscana di Scienze Naturali Residente in Pisa. 90: 227–236.
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