Talk:Cat gap

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Contact note[edit]

Mental note - Since two of her articles are cited on this page, it might be worth getting in touch with Blaire Van Valkenburgh and asking her if she thinks this article contains anything inaccurate or omits anything important. Raul654 (talk) 14:50, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

I have talked with Wesley-Hunt and she is very authoritative in this field. I think that this section of her article should be posted here for clarification and reference. Where else would be more appropriate to post it? It is directly related to this article "cat gap." Valich (talk) 01:56, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Hypercarnivorous morphologies during the assumed "cat gap"[edit]

There is no evidence of increased caniform hypercarnivorous morphologies during the presumed "cat-gap." See Gina D. Wesley-Hunt, Gina D, “The morphological diversification of carnivores in North America.” Paleobiology, 31(1), 2005, pp. 43-45. Further, absence of fossil record does in no way indicate definitive absence of an entire suborder (feliformia), or of any genera or species. Valich (talk) 02:22, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Flannery (The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples) and Van Valkenburgh (Major Patterns in the History of Carnivorous Mammals) both contradict Hunt, so I've modified the article to make it clear that there is a dispute on that point. Raul654 (talk) 22:42, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Relevant discussion elsewhere[edit]

Thought I should link to Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Palaeontology#Help_requested_for_Cat_gap here for interested parties. Martin (Smith609 – Talk) 23:03, 24 November 2008 (UTC)

Couple of points[edit]

Lead says "went extinct" and links to Extinction event. In several extinction-related articles I've seen "went extinct" copyedited to "became extinct". Extinction of 1 mammal taxon in 1 part of the world does not constitute an extinction event. IIRC one of the sources mentioned an extinction event at the Oligocene-Miocene boundary, although Extinction event does not mention an Oligocene-Miocene event. Can you please clarify and, if the event was sufficiently severe and widespread, add it to the list in Extinction_event#Minor_events. If not severe and widespread, I suggest you unlink from Extinction event and to Extinction, which is a normal and apparently continuous phenomenon.

Text says Nimravidae became extinct during the the cat gap, diagram says at end of Miocene, about 12M yrs after cat gap. If the diagram is wrong and you'd like me to improve it as discussed, list all points that need to be changed then give me a call. --Philcha (talk)

(1) I added this article to extinction event yesterday. (2) In the "Cat evolution" section, this article says that Nimravidae went extinct in North America during the cat gap, not nessarily worldwide (The statement is not sourced, but it woudnl't be difficult to find one -- "The hypercarnivorous nimravid feliforms were extinct in North America after Interval 14 (26 Ma)" - Hunt) Raul654 (talk) 23:02, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Go to the genus articles for Dinictis, Dinaelurus, and Pogonodon. It shows them being alive in North American during the "cat gap". Either the genus pages are wrong or this article is wrong. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:50, 11 August 2011 (UTC)

Issues with this article[edit]

I wanted to echo on this talk page some issues I have with this article to get some feedback. Much of this will echo my comments at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Palaeontology.

  • Should this article refer to the cat gap as an extinction event or a period in the fossil record, or both?
  • Related to the above, this article should definitely comment on the quality of the fossil record, and the possibility the cat gap is simply a sampling artifact.
  • This article must comment on whether or not the cat gap was a world-wide or North American phenomenon.
  • Per Philcha's suggestion on wikiproject talk page, There may be enough there to support a suggestion that feliformes were more vulnerable to local extinction because they have no "safety stock" of non-hypercarnivores to fall back on when the hypercarnivores suffered one of their periodic extinctions
Yes, feliforms are more vulnerable to extinction when their environment changes from a forest to an open-range grassland savanna - like what had occurred during the North American "cat-gap" period - because of the difference in their hunting tactics. Except for hyenas, cats need to outrun their prey and deliver that fatal bite: canids hunt in packs and use stealth. Canids hunt with a greater number and can afford to lose more and still exist. Canidae had an extreme diversity during the Oligocene and Miocene. Thirty million years ago all three subfamilies of Canidae endured through the "cat-gap" period (Borophaginae, Hesperocyoninae, Caninae) with about two dozen different species. Similarly, there were dozens of species of Amphicyonidae (Bear-dogs) - basal caniforms. Valich (talk) 20:42, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Any feedback you guys have would be great. Raul654 (talk) 22:57, 25 November 2008 (UTC) Possible error?

Is it possible they may be wrong about the missing fossil cats? Have they checked in their neighbours' fossilised garages and sheds? (talk) 14:11, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

This is an excellent point. I have come across an article that states that "most cats became extinct during this period," but it did not say which ones did not become extinct. I am trying to research this further. Rhinos and hippo-like rhinos (Teleoceras) also came and went during the Eocene, Oligocene, and Miocene in North America: "rhino-gaps"? Ecomorphs of the same family have become extinct and then reappear later all throughout history. This has happened numerous times in North America with many Amphicyonids too - Amphicyonid gaps." I guess it is just our contemporary human fixation with cats and dogs that make this gap stand out more than the others do? As I said, lack of fossil evidence does not indicate the extinction of the species. Paleontology is a relatively new field. We have not been collecting fossils very long, and many of them that we have collected are tucked away in the back of museum storage rooms still unexamined and still unidentified. Valich (talk) 19:49, 27 November 2008 (UTC)

Would copyedit help[edit]

Hi, Raul654, you may find this a cheek but perhaps I can help to copyedit the article. E.g.: I aim to write for 14-years and for the majority of adults, whose reading age sticks at the same; there appears to be faulty logic, as the article goes from the antarctic to the arctic just like that. I won't start unless you ask me to. --Philcha (talk) 11:52, 28 June 2010 (UTC)

Go ahead - give it your best shot. Raul654 (talk) 02:33, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I increased the size of File:Feliform-Timeline_v01-1.png to give readers a chance of seeing it - with my lousy eyesight I can just read it. --Philcha (talk) 11:48, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
"However, there were other cat-like species before Proailurus, but not within the family of the order Carnivora" looks superfluous, I'd remove it. --Philcha (talk) 11:52, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
Entelodonts, aka "Pigs from Hell" or "Terminator Pigs", were onmivores. So while carnivores and their prey were independent, onmivores ate whatever they could catch. But so far I can't find any citations for this. --Philcha (talk) 23:14, 1 July 2010 (UTC)
I think I got side-tracked with the Entelodonts, and have dropped that. --Philcha (talk) 21:44, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
But we need to define the problem. For example Benton described terrestrial faunas as "depauperate" for all of the Triassic period, from 251 Ma to 250 Ma, after the Permian-Triassic extinction event. Then dinosaurs flourished but therapsids, whose present members are mammals, were low in diversity and numbers through the rest of the Mesozoic. And there were no dinosaur fossils for about the first 1/3 if the Jurassic, but great diversity and numbers immediately after, so the "dinosaur gap" of the early Jurassic was only apparent.[citation needed] --Philcha (talk) 05:01, 3 July 2010 (UTC)
We'd need to check other factors, e.g. ecological. E.g. lizards and snakes can live quite well in deserts, because they excrete uric acidic, which can be eliminated as an almost dry paste; while mammals excrete urea, which is dissolved in water.[citation needed] --Philcha (talk) 23:23, 2 July 2010 (UTC)
The Oligocene period, about 34 million to 23 million years, started the current Ice age. Unfortunately the "Ice age" article confuses "Ice age" and Glacial period.
The last glacial period ended about 15,000 years ago [1]; the current Holocene epoch is the interglacial we are presently in.
Raul654, I own you an apology. I have a serious and persistent illness, and the treatments for it have brought as a side-effect sleepiness and poor concentration. I hoped these side-effects would be decreasing by now, but it takes a bit longer for some patients. I'm sorry. --Philcha (talk) 19:06, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
Don't worry about it. I'm getting some R&R over the holiday weekend and not paying particularly close attention to on-wiki matters. So take all the time you need. Raul654 (talk) 22:37, 5 July 2010 (UTC)
I should written more explicitly - the sleepiness and poor concentration could go on for another 3 months. --Philcha (talk) 02:14, 6 July 2010 (UTC)
I think a cat gap, or an anything gap, is not feasible, because it is logically impossible to prove that something cannot exist. And in practical terms, just one example to the contrary (in this case a fossil "cat" of the right age) will refute the claim that the cat gap can be proved. --Philcha (talk) 18:37, 6 July 2010 (UTC)

Confusing sentence[edit]

"The increase in disparity through the early Miocene occurs during a time when few feliform fossils have been found in North America."

I have read and reread this sentence, and I am still confused as to what it is trying to say. Partly, I think the use of present tense is throwing me. Partly, what increase in disparity? Disparity of what? I don't see an 'increase in disparity' mentioned earlier. Is the 'time when few feliform fossils have been found in North America' referring to the early Miocene, or the present day? (talk) 21:44, 12 January 2011 (UTC)

NPOV on the "Cat Gap" article section[edit]

This article only includes reference to the THEORY of Evolution. It neglects to add in the ideas from the Intelligent Design (OR Creationism) theories. None of these theories have been proven as indisputable facts, yet this article claims the Theory of Evolution has an axiom. This tag may be removed whenever ideas from the other theories have been included in the article. (talk) 05:19, 8 January 2012 (UTC)

Hey, I got a better idea! How 'bout I remove your religious-nut "biased POV" tag right now and report you to the admins if you put it back? I just want to check with you first to make sure that's okay with you. VerdanaBøld 15:20, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
Also, the article completely ignores the legitimate scientific possibility that a global flood was the cause of the cat gap, since cats don't like getting wet.Darthmix (talk) 20:56, 5 December 2012 (UTC)
The above illustrates the downside of Wikipedia being an "encyclopedia that anyone can edit." VerdanaBøld 15:20, 17 February 2015 (UTC)
 :) Anyone who sympathises with such viewpoints (except comically) urgently needs to read the article Scientific theory to avoid making similar errors. Elroch (talk) 11:59, 13 December 2014 (UTC)


>"The hypercarnivorous nimravid feliforms were extinct in North America after 26 Ma ..."

Is this supposed to be MYA or something else? Rissa, Guild of Copy Editors (talk) 01:36, 30 August 2015 (UTC)

"Ma" is "mega annum", which is the SI equivalent of Myr, and seems to be the preferred term for MYA. See: Iapetus (talk) 09:53, 4 August 2016 (UTC)

About Nimravids[edit]

I have an issue with this statement:

"the increasingly hypercarnivorous trend of the cats (especially the nimravids)"

(IMHO, it's common knowledge by now that Nimravids were not cats, were they? )

and also with this one:

"Nimravidae are considered to be a sister taxon to felids."

By whom? First, the diagram on this wiki page clearly indicates that Nimravidae were placed rather far from Felidae, and were even less related to them than the mongoose, for example. Second, even if the diagram is not correct, by now there is a wide consensus that Barbourofelidae were a distinct group, more closely related to Felidae than to Nimravidae. Hence, Nimravidae cannot be a sister taxon to Felidae. -- (talk) 10:26, 12 September 2016 (UTC)