Mountain lions

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Possible Answers:

PUMAS.

Last seen on: –NY Times Crossword 20 Jul 21, Tuesday
USA Today Crossword – Dec 21 2020

Random information on the term “Mountain lions”:

†Viretailurus Hemmer, 1965Herpailurus Severtzov, 1858†Miracinonyx Adams, 1979Puma Jardine, 1834†Sivapanthera Kretzoi, 1929Acinonyx Brookes, 1828

The feline tribe Acinonychini contains three genera, each with one extant species: the cougar in Puma, the jaguarundi in Herpailurus, and the cheetah in Acinonyx.[citation needed]

In addition, a handful of extinct fossil species have been found in Eurasia and the Americas. The evolutionary relationships of these cats still needs to be worked out, with the main focus being the placement of the extinct species in relation to the extant species, and where cheetahs evolved. While cheetahs and cougars are sometimes considered big cats, as felines, they are more closely related to the smaller species (including domestic cats), than they are to pantherines such as lions and leopards.[citation needed]

Prior to the mid-1990s, the cheetahs were placed in the monotypic subfamily Acinonychinae due to their anatomical specializations for their cursorial nature. Both the cougar and jaguarundi were classified in the genus Felis along with most of the purring cats. In the 1990s, the first molecular evidence based on mitochondrial DNA, nuclear DNA and chromosomal data found that the cheetah is nested among the purring cats, with cougars and jaguarundis their closest relatives. As a result, cougars and jaguarundis were reclassified in the genus Puma and Acinonychinae is recognized as a junior synonym of Felinae. More advanced molecular studies based on genomic data has found strong support for this grouping. According to the current data, acinonychins diverged from other cats around 6.7 million years ago. The cheetah was the first to diverge from Puma around 4.9 million years ago. From there the cougar and jaguarundi split off 4 million years ago. In addition to the molecular work, various morphological studies that focused on the cranium have supported the relationship between Puma and Acinonyx. While the jaguarundi is classified in the genus Puma, the species differs from cougars due to size and anatomical differences, which results in some authors placing them in their own genus, Herpailurus.

Mountain lions on Wikipedia