A Molecular Phylogeny of the Felidae: Immunological Distance
The phylogenetic distances between 34 of the 37 extant species of Felidae were estimated using albumin immunological distances (AID). Albumins from ten cat species were used to prepare antisera in rabbits. A consensus phylogeny was constructed from a matrix of reciprocal AID measurements using four distinct phylogenetic algorithms. A series of one-way measurements using the ten index antisera and those 24 species for which albumins were available (but antisera were not), permitted addition of these "species' limbs" to the previously derived phylogenetic trees. The major conclusions of the derived topology were: 1) the earliest branch of the feline radiation occurred approximately 12 million years B.P. and led to the small South American cats (ocelot, margay, Geoffroy's cat, etc.); 2) the second branching occurred 8-10 million years B.P. and included the close relatives of the domestic cat (wildcats, jungle cat, sand cat, and black-footed cat) plus Pallas's cat; 3) the third lineage which began to radiate 4-6 million years B.P. was the pantherine lineage, which included several early branches (cheetah, serval, clouded leopard, golden cats, and puma) and a very recent (2 million years B.P.) split between the lynxes and the modern great cats (Panthera). The topology of the Felidae derived from albumin immunological distance is highly consistent with the karyological disposition of these species, as well as with the fossil record of this family. Because of the recent divergence of this group, the presented data set and the derived topology contain certain unresolved phylogenetic relationships which are so indicated.
Collier, Glen E. and Stephen J. O'Brien. 1985. "A Molecular Phylogeny of the Felidae: Immunological Distance." Evolution 39, (3): 473-487. https://nsuworks.nova.edu/cnso_bio_facarticles/164