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Temporal range: Pliocene - Holocene, 3–0 Ma
Cheetah Botswana.jpg
Cheetah, Acinonyx jubatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Felinae
Tribe: Acinonychini
Genus: Acinonyx
Brookes, 1828

Cynailurus Wagner, 1830
Cynofelis Lesson, 1842
Guepar Boitard, 1842
Gueparda Gray, 1843
Guepardus Duvernoy, 1834
Paracinonyx Kretzoi, 1929

Acinonyx is a genus within the cat family.[1] The only living species of this genus, the cheetah, A. jubatus, occurs and thrives in open grasslands of Africa and Asia.[2] Though often described as a big cat, this term is used primarily to describe cats of the genus Panthera, ruling out the cheetah.

Historical range

Several other species of cheetah-like cats existed since the late Pliocene epoch but are extinct today.[3] These cats occurred in Africa, parts of Europe and Asia about 10,000 years ago. Several similar species, classified in the genus Miracinonyx, lived in North America at the same time; these may have been more closely related to pumas.[4]


Acinonyx was first described by Brookes in 1828. In 1993, it was placed in a monophyletic subfamily, Acinonychinae. Molecular phylogenetic analysis has shown that it is the sister group of the genus Puma, and it is now placed within the subfamily Felinae.[1]


Several fossil Acinonyx species in addition to the living cheetah have been described:

See also


  1. ^ a b Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–533. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Krausman, P. R.; Morales, S. M. (2005). "Acinonyx jubatus". Mammalian Species. 771: 1–6. doi:10.1644/1545-1410(2005)771[0001:aj];2. 
  3. ^ Hemmer, H.; Kahlke, R.-D.; Keller, T. (2008). "Cheetahs in the Middle Pleistocene of Europe: Acinonyx pardinensis (sensu lato) intermedius (Thenius, 1954) from the Mosbach Sands (Wiesbaden, Hessen, Germany)". Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Abhandlungen. 249: 345–356. doi:10.1127/0077-7749/2008/0249-0345. 
  4. ^ Krausman, P. R. & Morales, S. M. (2005). "Acinonyx jubatus" (PDF). Mammalian Species: 1–6. [dead link]
  5. ^ Schreber, J. C. D. (1777). Die Säugthiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen 1776-1778. Wolfgang Walther, Erlangen
  6. ^ Croizet, J. B. et Jobert, A. C. G. (1862). Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles du département du Puy-de-Dôme. Chez les principaux libraires, Paris
  7. ^ Thenius, E. (1954). Gepardreste aus dem Altquartär von Hundsheim in Niederösterreich. Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie, Monatshefte: 225–238.
  8. ^ Geraads, D (1997). "Carnivores du Pliocène terminalde Ahl al Oughlam (Casablanca, Maroc)". Geobios. 30 (1): 127–164. doi:10.1016/s0016-6995(97)80263-x. 
  9. ^ Christiansen, P.; Mazák, J. H. (2009). "A primitive Late Pliocene cheetah, and evolution of the cheetah lineage". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 106 (2): 512–5. doi:10.1073/pnas.0810435106. PMC 2626734Freely accessible. PMID 19114651. 
  10. ^ Knevitt, Oliver (2011). "5 Greatest Palaeontology Fakes Of All Time #5: The Linxia Cheetah". Science 2.0. Retrieved 13 January 2013. 
  11. ^ Mazák, J. H. (2012). "Retraction for Christiansen and Mazák. A primitive Late Pliocene cheetah, and evolution of the cheetah lineage". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 109 (37): 15072. doi:10.1073/pnas.1211510109. PMC 3443189Freely accessible. PMID 22908293. 

External links

  • Media related to Acinonyx at Wikimedia Commons
  • Data related to Acinonyx at Wikispecies
  • Acinonyx at the Encyclopedia of Life

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