Felis lunensis

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Felis lunensis
Temporal range: Pliocene to Pleistocene[1] 2.5–0.0781 Ma
Felis lunensis.JPG
Fragment of f. lunensis fossilized jawbone, at Museo di Paleontologia di Firenze
Scientific classification edit
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Genus: Felis
F. lunensis
Binomial name
Felis lunensis
Martelli, 1906

Felis silvestris lunensis
Martelli's cat

Felis lunensis (Martelli's cat) is an extinct felid of the subfamily Felinae.

Evolution and taxonomy[edit]

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.[1] Fossil evidence suggests the modern European wildcat Felis silvestris may have evolved from F. lunensis during the Middle Pleistocene.[2] This has resulted in F. lunensis occasionally being considered a subspecies of Felis silvestris.

Felis lunensis first described by Ugolino Martelli in 1906 was a mandible excavated in Pliocene deposits near Olivola in Tuscany.[3] The holotype specimen is now preserved in the collection of the University of Florence in Italy.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Felis lunensis". The Paleobiology Database. Retrieved 14 March 2010.
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Cioppi, E.; Mazzini, M. (1983). "Part II: Carnivora, Felidae". Atti della Societa Toscana di Scienze Naturali Residente in Pisa. Catalogue of type specimens in the vertebrate collections of the museum of geology and paleontology of the University of Florence (Italy). 90: 227–236.