By Alan Rabinowitz
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Additional resources for An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar
But such rapid diversification, along with an incomplete fossil record, makes our knowledge of their evolutionary history inexact and based almost exclusively on molecular phylogenies, or genetic differences. 8 million years ago. Phylogenetic research (evolutionary history) of modern Panthera showed a taxonomic grouping of the lion, the leopard, and the jaguar, separated from the tiger. The tiger appeared to have branched off before any speciation occurred within the lion/leopard/jaguar group. 6 million years old and found in China, Panthera zdanskyi, was thought to be the most primitive species of the tiger lineage.
This theory proposing humans as the major driving force of this Pleistocene extinction seems most credible in North America, where the appearance of Paleo-Indian cultures around 11,000 years ago coincided closely with some of the continent’s greatest-known The Pleistocene Jaguar Corridor 19 extinction events (“Indian” being a term for the existing inhabitants that originated with Columbus, who thought he had arrived in the East Indies while seeking Asia). Early Homo sapiens were believed to have colonized Beringia perhaps as early as 20,000 years ago, spreading out into the Great Plains when a corridor opened through what is now the Northwest Territories.
Maize or corn was first bred and cultivated in the valleys of southern Mexico about 7,000 years ago. Corn was initially a weed-like secondary food source, but millennia of selective harvesting and replanting increased the size of the corn cob and the number of kernels to produce what eventually became a basic primary food throughout North, Central, and South America. Other food crops soon followed, including beans, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, chili peppers, pineapples, avocados, cacao, vanilla, onions, peanuts, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and papayas.
An Indomitable Beast: The Remarkable Journey of the Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz