The animal inhabits the island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea. The locals had mentioned a cat unknown to science for a long time, but it was only recently that scientists have managed to study the animal in detail.
The slow progress in studying the new species was mainly due to its rarity, as well as its caution coupled with its nightlife. The first evidence that the locals’ words were not legends was obtained in 2012 when scented sticks were put in the forests to attract the cat. This is how the animal’s first DNA samples were obtained.
In 2016, scientists were able to tag 12 individual animals to track their movements. It turned out that the new species resembles an African wild cat, but still features a critical set of differences.
The main distinctive feature of ghjattuvolpe (as the Corsicans dubbed the cat) is its black-tipped striped tail, which makes the animal look a little like a fox. The animal’s body is about 90 cm long. It has dense hair, strong muscles and poweful fangs. The species, most likely, emerged about 6.5 thousand years ago.
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