A shrew-like mammal is called Maelestes gobiensis is the common ancestor not only of cats and dogs, but humans as well. It lived more than 70 million years ago.
Cats and dogs do not share an ancestor. Whether or not dogs are descended from wolves is an argued topic. Some scientists believe that dogs descend from wolves due to similarities in pack formations and body types. Recently, however, research has come to show that the skeleton of dogs have been found from over 4000 years ago. Felines have been connected with humanity for almost 10,000 years. The domestic cat’s DNA has been traced back to Mesopatamia, and the breed is still present in that area. 5 feline ancestors are the following: Central Asian wildcat, Chinese desert wildcat, European wildcat, Near-East wildcat, and the South-African wildcat.
“Cats and dogs do not share an ancestor. Whether or not dogs are descended from wolves is an argued topic.”
Right on the second statement; appallingly wrong on the first.
The best fit for the evidence that is currently available is that ALL life on Earth ultimately shares a common ancestor. This means that humans and oak trees share a common ancestor–and cats & dogs are a lot closer than humans and oaks!
It appears that the most recent common ancestor (MRCA) of all placental mammals was about 70 million years ago (i.e. while some dinosaurs still walked the Earth); but cats and dogs are both members of the order Carnivora, so their MRCA will be more recent. The estimate given earlier (in the 40-45mm years range) is likely correct.
A re-check of my sources indicates that dogs’ and cats’ MRCA may actually have been closer to 60mm years ago.
Oh well, ask an evolution question of a creationist, and what do you get?
The exact MRCA (Most Recent Common Ancestor) may never be known. Not that it really matters to that degree of precision.
But what is known is that not long after the emergence of the Order Carnivora appeared it split off into two suborders:
Feliformia (“Cat like”) and,
Caniformia (“Dog like”)
This occurred around 42 million years ago in the Eocene period.
From here the Feliformia produced the families:
Felidae (Domestic Cats, Tiger, Lion, Ocelot, etc.)
Eupleridae (“Malagasy carnivores”) Fossa, Falanouc, Malagasy Civet and Malagasy mongooses etc. All from Madagascar.
Hyaenidae (hyenas and Aardwolf)
Herpestidae (the Mongooses, kusimanses, Meerkat, etc.)
Nandiniidae (African Palm Civet)
Viverridae (the Binturong, civets, genets, Asiatic and African linsang)
And the Caniformia produced:
Canidae (canids; dogs and wolves)
Ailuridae (red panda)
Mustelidae (weasels and otters)
Procyonidae (raccoons, coatis, etc.)
Pinnipedia (seals, sea lions, walruses.)
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