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Earliest Cat Domesticated in China Was the Leopard Cat, Scientists Say

The wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) ancestor of today’s beloved house pet was not the only species of felid to adapt to human society and be domesticated, according to research published in the science journal PLOS ONE. In China a different species, the leopard cat (Prionailurus bengalensis), adapted independently to living with humans.

Secrets of the World’s 38 Species of Wild Cats

© Emmanuel Keller, courtesy of Bloomsbury Publishing. Perhaps the most popular pet on Earth, the family cat is a beloved member of countless households. Millions of others abandoned or strayed are flourishing independently outdoors, where they may pose serious threats to birds and other small animals. But as familiar as the house cat is, not many people know it has…

Butterflies, beetles, and dragonflies declining in Europe

Habitat loss is having a serious impact on Europe’s butterflies, beetles and dragonflies, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) said today. Nine percent of butterflies, 11 percent of saproxylic beetles (beetles that depend on decaying wood) and 14 percent of dragonflies are threatened with extinction within Europe, the Switzerland-based conservation organization said…

Insect Pollination is a $215-billion Service to the World, Scientists Determine

Illustration by S.S. Firmage/NGS Bees, butterflies and other little critters that spend their lives buzzing around flowers provided worldwide economic value of about $215 billion in 2005, French and German scientists announced today. “This figure amounted to 9.5% of the total value of the world agricultural food production,” they said in a paper published in…