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Re: Selective Extinction



> From: Toby White <augwhite@neosoft.com>

> >There is some good evidence to suspect that Bovine Immunodeficiency
Virus
> >(BIV) infected cats ?5-10mya resulting in Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
> 
> I'm not even going to *ask* how a sexually transmitted disease got from
cows
> to cats!  Lions lying down with lambs?

Well, obviously it wasn't sexually transmitted.  How large cats got
infected is  unknown, but somehow an infected member of the Bovidae family
infected an early member of the family Felidae.  Horses and zebra bite so
maybe that's how it was transmitted from species to species and eventually
infected the entire family of cats.  The domestic cat is now infected
probably sometime in the last several thousand years, perhaps 1-2kya.

>What's most interesting about your
> observation is the suggestion that FIV hits all felines, providing a
> potential mechanism to affect a whole family without regard to ecological
> niche.  Did I understand this correctly or did you just mean lions?

Yes, the entire family.

> On the other hand, I can't think of a way to test any of this except by
> statistical analysis of extinctions which can't be otherwise explained. 
I
> doubt the fossil data is good enough to do this kind of analysis in most
> cases.  (Elizabeth Vrba's antelopes maybe?)

I'm unfamiliar with Elizabeth Vrba's antelopes.  I suspect that all major
extinctions are in some part multi-factorial.  Perhaps when we have enough
facts and computer models are sophisticated enough, we can be less
speculative.  I don't know how you can ever be certain, but my opinion
doesn't mean much.