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We hypothesize that small body size, rounded ears, and long tails are ancestral characters in Felidae. Large body size likely arose within the genus Panthera. Short tails and pointed ears are likely both homoplastic traits. Pointed ears probably arose separately in the genera Caracal, Lynx, and Felis. Short tails appear to have arisen in Lynx and Caracal separately.

References

Gittleman, John L. 1985. Carnivore body size: Ecological and taxonomic correlates. Oecologia, Vol. 67 No. 4: 540-554

Holliday, Jill A. Phylogeny and Character Change in the Feloid Carnivora. 2007. pp. 3. Florida State University. 

Johnson, WE, Eizirik, E, Pecon-Slattery, JP, Murphy, WJ, Antunes, A, Teeling, E, and O'Brien, SJ. 2006. The Late Miocene Radiation of Modern Felidae: A Genetic Assessment. Science 311:73-77.

Savage, J.G.. "Evolution in Carnivorous Animals ." . N.p., 17 Mar 1976. Web. 6 Oct 2013. <http://palaeontology.palass-pubs.org/pdf/Vol 20/Pages 237-271.pdf>.

Sunquist, M and Sunquist, F. 2002. Wild cats of the world. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 278-284. ISBN 0-226-77999-8.

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Turner, A, Antón, M, Salesa, MJ, and Morales, J. 2011. Changing ideas about the evolution and functional morphology of Machairodontine felids. Estudios Geologicos 67:255-276.

Valkeburgh, Blaire. "Major Patterns in The history of Carnivorous Mammals." . Earth Planet , n.d. Web. 6 Oct 2013. <http://www.annualreviews.org/doi/pdf/10.1146/annurev.earth.27.1.463>.