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The difference between trivial and scientific names: There were never any true cheetahs in North America
- Faurby, S., Werdelin, L., Svenning, J.C.
- Genome biology 2016 v.17 no.1 pp. 89
- Acinonyx jubatus, extinction, fauna, genetic analysis, genetic variation, genome, immigration, North America
- Dobrynin et al. (Genome Biol 16:277, 2015) recently published the complete genome of the cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and provided an exhaustive set of analyses supporting the famously low genetic variation in the species, known for several decades. Their genetic analyses represent state-of-the-art and we do not criticize them. However, their interpretation of the results is inconsistent with current knowledge of cheetah evolution. Dobrynin et al. suggest that the causes of the two inferred bottlenecks at ∼ 100,000 and 10,000 years ago were immigration by cheetahs from North America and end-Pleistocene megafauna extinction, respectively, but the first explanation is impossible and the second implausible.