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CAT HYBRIDS, NO DINOSAURS. SORRY.
It's good to see Nick back on the list.
I have no useful comments on the genetic viability of intergeneric
hybrids seen amongst felids BUT it does indeed seem that cats are
unusually plastic when it comes to interbreeding. Though it has been
suggested that at least some intrageneric hybridisation has
occasionally occurred in the wild (e.g. _Felis chaus_ and _F. catus_
in the UK), all intergeneric hybrids known to me come from captive
parents. As regards felid taxonomy, the current trend is to
recognise previously sunk genera (e.g. _Leptailurus_, _Prionailurus_,
_Herpailurus_, _Leopardus_) as monophyletic and therefore valid.
Incidentally, Nick's hybrid cat is a 'Bengal' - - a name that only
applies to _P. bengalensis_ x domestic cat hybrids, and not to an
apparently imaginary British big cat supposedly encountered by the
trapper Quentin Rose. Also, domestic cats are not _Felis silvestris
catus_, but _Felis catus_. While we recognise that domestic cats and
European/Asian/?African wildcats (=_F. lybica_) are certainly all the
same species, it turns out that nomenclatural priority goes to _Felis
catus_ Linne, 1758. Linne's type was his own pet cat, and it was only
later that the 'wildcat' _F. silvestris_ was bought in (I can't
remember if it's in the 1758 edition). It is therefore ironic that
many authors, myself included, have been arguing for a while that we
should sink the domestic cat 'species' (_F. catus_) into the wildcat
'species' (_F. silvestris_): in fact it is the other way round.
Andrew Kitchener (1998) noted this in his recent review on wildcat
Subspecies are proving increasingly hard to maintain and should be
scrapped wherever possible.
"No no, Bo Derek is a *metaphor*. The bedroom is a *metaphor*"