Research has shown that Scottish and European wildcats coexisted peacefully without interbreeding for more than 2000 years. However, about 70 years ago, radical changes occurred. Genetic analysis conducted in the mid-1950s showed that more than 5% of the Scottish wildcat’s genetic markers began to resemble those of its domesticated relatives. In 1997, this figure increased to 74%.

Today the Scottish wildcat is considered “genomically extinct” as its once pristine color has been washed away and its iconic short bushy tail has been replaced by the longer, thinner tail of domestic cats. Efforts are currently underway to preserve the population of Scottish wildcats. Researchers hope that within a few generations they will adapt, freeing themselves from the influence of the domestic cat’s DNA and securing the future of this iconic species.

Source: Ferra

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