January 05, 2006

Catblogging: The Cat Family Tree. The evolution of Cats is a difficult matter, It's much more complex than at once it appears; You may think at first I'm as mad as a hatter When I tell you, cats go back 35 million years.
  • I was pretty sure you were mad as a hatter before you ever told me about how far cats go back.
  • O I was born about 35 million years ago and all these other cats ye know are actually my offspring, although one branch grew large and one stayed smaller yet all of 'em can catterwaul, or grow long whiskers, though some fail* to grow an elegant long tail. *Lynx, for one. And Manx. Is it something to do with the X?
  • Chy, thanks for the link. The rapid dispersion of the cat lines is especially interesting, though not surprising. (The next time I'm adoped by a cat with the appropriate attitude, I will name it "bernockle." Though, I do need to know whether the pronunciation is what it appears. The last one which signed on and might qualify is female, so that wouldn't work, though her insistence that everything must be pushed off counters and tables and that the drain traps from bathroom sinks belong on the living room rug make me think of that curmudgeon. Sweet chaos, and much too smart for her own good.) (Bees - did you also have the Odetta album - can't remember the male corhort's name was - or did you learn the "I was born about ten thousand years ago" song elsewhere?)
  • I don't even know what you just said!
  • Well, just read the first paragraph, to start. I think you'll find that it addresses the link you posted - I'm sure you know that. Then, think about berkocle. Doesn't he push thing off the counter and put things where you wouldn't expect them, if you translate that to human terms? YMMV. And bee's song was a take on one I met up with the 1960s folk-song era: "I was born about ten thousand years ago. There ain't nothin' in this world that I don't know. I saw Matthew, Paul, and Moses, playin' ring around the roses, And I'll whup the guy which says it isn't so." And so on. Sorry to confuse you, but it was a great album.
  • path, dom't think I've ever heard Odetta; more the Huddy Ledbetter/Ma Rainey type. Think that song goes back to at least Pete Seegar/Woody Guthrie, and belongs to what Tom Lehrer once so dryly called "The Folk".
  • Ah.
  • Bees: I've missed your poetry of late!
  • Me, too, Tennenho! Have an infestation of holiday guests -- should be cleared out by this weekend. I hope. /grouchy, irascible introvert
  • Personally, I think these geneticists are making this crap up. Cats start in Asia, some of them go to Africa to become servals, others to N. America to become pumas and bobcats; then some of the N. American pumas come back to Asia, then off they go to Africa to become cheetahs. Meanwhile some of the ones that were hanging out in Asia all along decide to go to Africa to become lions. Then some of those lions go back to Asia, whence to N. and S. America so that they can become jaguars. Oh, and remember those N. American bobcats? They march right back to Asia then Europe to become lynxeses. Mmmm-hmmm. Maybe Occam's Razor doesn't apply to cats? I seem to remember that cheetahs were once viewed as an early branch off the main trunk of cats as they are in many ways completely different from all other cats (no retractile claws, no purring are the only differences I recall off-hand). My understanding is that figuring this stuff out from DNA is based on the assumption that there are stretches of DNA that don't do anything so you can measure passage of time between the divergence of species based on the number of mutations in those regions; the mutations won't be selected against because those regions aren't doing anything so the mutation rate is relatively constant. But 1) we only think those regions don't do anything because we don't know what it is they do. That doesn't mean they're doing nothing and 2) maybe those regions don't mutate at constant rates (which I think caution live frogs' link from yesterday's thread implies.)
  • cheetahs ... are in many ways completely different from all other cats Yea, every other breed of cat will bring you the right change if you give 'em a twenty and send them to the store for some Friskies--except those that keep the change--damn cheetahs.
  • Argh! *klunk*