In Holocene the cats family has suffered the big damage from human activity. Number of large cats was sharply reduced, and their areas have catastrophically decreased. Small cats have suffered from hunting for the sake of valuable fur. The unique representative of family has received the big advantages in a survival in human epoch is the domestic cat Felis catus. Due to people this predator was settled practically in whole world. It became a stimul for evolution of the present species. As against the majority of domestic animals dependent on people, the domestic cat easily runs wild. Therefore after disappear
ance of people this species have not died out in common with them, and have continued to exist. The majority of Neocene felines descend from several species of rather small cats have survived hunting and ecological crisis. Cats are successful predators; therefore descendants of domestic cats have taken the high place appropriate to their abilities in food pyramids of new biosphere. And in Neocene among them large animals from the number of the most terrible land predators of Earth have appeared. One of them is the awful daggerclawer, specialized large prey hunter. It is very large cat: it is lion-sized, but it seems larger because of longer legs. At daggerclawers characteristic features of appearance, common for cats, were kept: rather short jaws, large canines, binocular sight. Daggerclawers are solitary animals. The body of daggerclawers (in the Neocene world there are few species of these cats) is covered with fluffy wool. At the awful daggerclawer the colour of wool is similar to “tortoise-shell” color of some domestic cats - on grey background there are big, almost symmetric dark spots. Tail of animal is long, on it spots merge to non-uniform cross strips. A tip of tail of animal is white. White sites are on the bottom part of muzzle; throat and breast are also white. On hinder legs of animals of this species occasionally there are white “stockings”. Forepaws of daggerclawers are colored contrastly and brightly: from an elbow up to fingers they are covered with alternating wide black and white strips. This colouring is the important element in behaviour of animals as it is used in rituals of an establishment of domination. It is shown only at adult animal of both sexes. Not sexual matured animals have dark forepaws. At capture of catch cats actively use forepaws. And this feature of behaviour has received development at the present species and has reached high specialization. On paws of cats there are five fingers from which four ones base on the ground, and the first, the shortest one, does not touch ground. At daggerclawers on first fingers of forepaws crescent claws of huge size (its length is up to 20 cm) were developed. In rest this claw is pressed to the paw and its end is directed back, not preventing walking and running. On the internal sides of wrists of the animal there are sites of very thick cornificate skin, and this claw adjoins directly to this one. Also this claw is partly retracted in skin cover. The “fighting” claw of the daggerclawer is partly similar to claws of small predatory dinosaurs like Deinonychus and Velociraptor. The daggerclawer eats large ground animals. Attacking prey, it at first creeps to it to probably closer distance, and then rushes to the planned victim. Due to long legs it can accelerate momentum up to 60 kms per hour on the short distance. At the moment of solving jump the animal shows its “fighting” claws, and puts to the victim deep wounds by them. When impact has falled on the neck, catch of the daggerclawer, even having escaped from its claws, quickly bleeds profusely and perishes. In case of successful attack the daggerclawer, except for impact by claws, delivers to prey sting in neck or in the basis of skull: this is the “inheritance” stayed from its ancestor, the domestic cat. All daggerclawers are solitary territorial animals. Usually at them as at tigers, the territory of the male includes territories of several females. Animals mark territory, fleecing bark from trees, and rubring the bared wood with a secret of chin repugnatorial glands. Males also mark the territory by urine. During an establishment of domination relations animals pay special attention to colouring of forepaws of the contender: the more contrast coloring, the animal having it is stronger. At young animal paws are dark; at old ones they are “gray-haired”: strips become not so contrast. Duels for territory and place in hierarchy, as a rule, are limited by demonstration of “stretching” of contenders: thus animals by turns bend backs and extend forward forepaws, showing their colouring. “Stretching”, each animal tears off by claws a part of grass, breaking through deep furrow by “fighting” claw. Such ritual behaviour helps to avoid fight, and contenders can estimate force each other. It is accompanied by loud mewing and squeal. Pairing occurs in middle of winter, kittens (2 - 4) are born in first half of spring. They are covered with dark wool, blind and deaf. The female feeds with them with milk about four months, and then even more half-year young animals keep with mother. They abandon her in winter, and more often they are banished by males during a rut. Sexual maturity comes approximately at three-year age. At this time at males strips on forepaws start to appear. But most successfully males are coupled approximately since the fifth year of life: females give obvious preference to males with striped forepaws. Life expectancy of the awful daggerclawer reaches 30 years. There are some other species of daggerclawers distinguished in smaller size in East Asia in moderate and subtropical latitudes: Fisher daggerclawer (Pugionyx piscivorus) is a predator up to half meter at a shoulder. Length of its body is about one meter; a tail is about 60 cm. The head is dark with white area on the tip of muzzle and throat, above eyes there are white spots; wool has striped colouring. Forepaws up to an elbow are white, occasionally on them there are one - two cross strips. The claw is rather larger, than at the awful daggerclawer: its length is about 15 cm. In rest it is strongly unbend back, resembling cock heel. The animal inhabits marshlands, riverbanks and lakes. The fisher daggerclawer willingly swims and prefers to not leave water far. The animal eats fish and aquatic animals: turtles, frogs, waterfowl and rodents. Bird-catching daggerclawer (P. saltatus) is the smallst species of genus (length of body not including tail is about 60 cm; tail is about half meter long). It is settled more widely than other species: this cat inhabits areas from plains up to mountain woods. It also differs in especial addition: hinder legs are strong, appreciably longer than forepaws (back is inclined forward). Colouring of wool is spotty: on background from sand up to red there are dark brown spots. Forepaws armed with sharp crescent claws are colored black with white spots. This animal eats mainly birds. It dexterously forces down flying up birds, killing for one jump up to five ones from flight. It eats catch, keeping it in forepaws and sitting on back legs (by same habits Holocene caracal (Felis caracal) had differed).