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An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types.It is the second-heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar.Taxonomic research on felids remains partial, and much of what is known about their evolutionary history is based on mitochondrial DNA analysis, and significant confidence intervals exist with suggested dates. The cheetah lineage is suggested by some studies to have diverged from the Puma lineage in the Americas (see American cheetah) and migrated back to Asia and Africa, A high level of genetic similarity has been found among North American cougar populations, suggesting they are all fairly recent descendants of a small ancestral group. propose the original North American population of P.concolor was extirpated during the Pleistocene extinctions some 10,000 years ago, when other large mammals, such as Smilodon, also disappeared.In the latest genomic study of the Felidae, the common ancestor of today's Leopardus, Lynx, Puma, Prionailurus, and Felis lineages migrated across the Bering land bridge into the Americas 8.0 to 8.5 million years ago (Mya). North America was then repopulated by a group of South American cougars.Adult males are around 2.4 m (7.9 ft) long from nose to tail tip, and females average 2.05 m (6.7 ft), with overall ranges between 1.5 to 2.75 m (4.9 to 9.0 ft) nose to tail suggested for the species in general.
Lexicographers regard painter as a primarily upper-Southern US regional variant on panther.
The cougar is territorial and survives at low population densities.
Individual territory sizes depend on terrain, vegetation, and abundance of prey.
In particular, the cougar was extirpated in eastern North America in the beginning of the 20th century, except for an isolated Florida panther subpopulation.
Transient males have been verified in Minnesota, With its vast range across the length of the Americas, P.