Prehistoric Iberian lynx, illustration

Prehistoric Iberian lynx, illustration

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Credit: JOSE ANTONIO PENAS/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Prehistoric Iberian lynx. Illustration of a prehistoric form of the Iberian lynx (Lynx pardinus). Both this lynx and the Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) evolved from the now-extinct Lynx issiodorensis. The Iberian lynx evolved separately due to its isolation in the differing habitat of the Iberian peninsula. The divergence point has been placed around 1.6 million years ago, with the Iberian lynxes of that time larger and better adapted to the cold and ice of the glacial period. At the time, the Iberian Peninsula became a climatic refuge from the Quaternary glaciations for many species of animals, driving evolutionary changes such as in this lynx species.

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