Researchers link big cat habitat and coat patterns
Creating a feline character? You might want to decide on their habitat before picking a coat.
Research by the University of Bristol's School of Experimental Psychology has found correlations between the complexity or irregularity of a cat's pattern and its habitat:
[...] cats living in dense habitats, in the trees, and active at low light levels, are the most likely to be patterned.
The researchers admitted that this rule did not explain the coat of cheetahs, who have evolved spots despite a preference for open plains.
The team discounted suggestions that coat patterns in big cats were linked to social hierarchy or gender, as they did not differ significantly between such individuals. Their paper, Why the leopard got its spots, was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
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