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Miracinonyx is a relative of which type of cat?



Miracinonyx is also known as Acinonyx trumani, or the American Cheetah. However the modern Cheetah is not its closest relative.

Miracinonyx existed in the Americas as little as twenty thousand years ago, which is not very long in term of world history. The closest living relative, according to DNA tests, is the Puma. Since the Puma and the modern cheetah are also closely related, it seems reasonable to believe that all three had a common ancestor. Strangely enough, the Jaguarundi is also part of the Puma lineage and would also be related.

The Americas had at least one other type of 'Cheetah', referred to as both Miracinonyx inexpectatus and Acinonyx studeri. This cat was bigger and older than Trumani. Studeri lived up to two million years ago. Some speculate that it may have even been the common ancestor, but we may never know due to a lack of DNA evidence. For the same reason, we cannot say if Studeri was or was not part of the Puma lineage.

Studeri lived at roughly the same time as the Saber-toothed cats but was not related to them. The Saber-toothed cats originally split from the line of modern cats over twenty million years ago.

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