Pallas's cat, oncilla, Jaguarundi, serval, caracal, Margay, kodkod ... do you want? We! What are they? Are members of one of the most spectacular family of mammals, the felidelor - or cat, as they say in ordinary language. Towards the tiger, lion, jaguar and some others, grouped as unscientific but widely used "big cats" cats "other" - medium and small-sized species - are much less known in most cases. Over 30 species of such "small cat" living earth, roamed through diverse habitats, from deserts to the dense jungle. Some are rare, represented by few specimens, and those threatened by human expansion, others are not rare or endangered, but are rarely seen and little known because of their habits of life discreet. However, it would deserve better known, are an important part of biological complexity of the food web and, in general, the wealth of life forms on the planet.All felidele in the world (family Felidae), say experts in their most recent theories (supported by genetic data, accessible in recent years due to modern techniques of DNA analysis), descended from a single common ancestor. Cats first appeared in the Oligocene, about ago. 25 million years. The group emerged in Asia and spread gradually throughout the world. Morphological and genetic studies suggest that the common ancestor would be removed, while several lineages that have diversified and spread over at least 10 migrations, conquering a continent after another, through land bridges that at different times, tied together continental masses. Crossed from Eurasia to North America via the land bridge, during glaciations, the AFL where Behring Strait is today. Then from North America, went to the South by the Isthmus of Panama. Today, native species of cats are present on all continents except Australia and Antarctica, and the group includes more than 40 species present. It's a group of mammals booming evolving, competitive and "young". Geneticists Warren Johnson and Stephen O'Brien of the U.S. National Cancer Institute, which conducted a comprehensive study of the genetics felidelor analyzing mitochondrial and nuclear DNA estimates that 60% of existing species of cats have appeared in the last million years .  Big cats, small cats. Cats or cats? "Big cats" is a term that has no relevance in terms of science-based classifications, is just a term that describes human perception of various species of cats, depending on their size. The big ones are easier to see, more striking in appearance, making a strong impression on humans and can often be dangerous for him. Moreover, neither the definition of this category is not very clear and there are at least two perspectives: one includes in the category "big cats" members only genus Panthera - lion, tiger, jaguar and leopard, another, broader, add to the four species above and puma, snow leopard, leopard and cheetah marble. Name ştiinţfic mammalian family Felidae is talking about, and it includes two subfamilies: Pantherinae and Felinae. All "cats" wild SMEs will be talking about in this article (as do domestic cats) belong to the subfamily Felinae. From this perspective, the term 'big cats' scientifically incorrect, because the tiger, lion, leopard and jaguar, leopard, snow leopard and marbled Felinae not part of the subfamily, but the Pantherinae. But it came in language expression, "big cats" and domestication is good enough, even if not strictly scientific point of view is quite right. (In fact, the classification is changed, as they discover new things about the species involved and kinship between them.) Instead, it's about "cats" medium and small from all other genera and species, it is equally correct to say cats as cats, because they come with out all of the family Felidae Felinae subfamily. (Yes, systematic zoo is complicated. Cats And yet it's simple. If you see what's puzzling and difficult famiii systematic of insects ...)   So, besides the "big cats" pretty much publicized and known world felidelor includes a large number of smaller species - although variations are great here - adapted to all kinds of lifestyles, many with appearances unique and full of interesting details biology. On European and North American lynx and the Eurasian wild cat (Felis sylvestris - species that lives and us) biologists and even the general public know something. But besides them, felidelor universe contains dozens of species of medium-sized and small inhabitants of savannas, mountains, jungles or deserts that are really unknown. About three quarters of the species live in forested areas and cats are agile climbers. There are some species that live in mountain or desert. Many are silent, nocturnal and live in inaccessible habitats human, which explains why they often know too little about them. Although these "small cats" are too many to include them all in the space of a single article, here's a "gallery" of 12 species which give a fairly accurate idea of ​​the diversity of the group and its wide spread - an unmistakable signs of success evolutionary countered, unfortunately, in many species, human influence, manifested by excessive hunting and habitat destruction.