Affiliations 

  • 1 Section for Evolutionary Genomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 2 Section for Evolutionary Genomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen, Denmark. Electronic address: m.westbury@sund.ku.dk
  • 3 Korean Genomics Center (KOGIC), Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea; Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea
  • 4 Yukon Palaeontology Program, Department of Tourism and Culture, Government of Yukon, PO Box 2703, Whitehorse, YT Y1A 2C6, Canada
  • 5 Department of Natural History, NTNU University Museum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim NO-7491, Norway
  • 6 School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia
  • 7 Section for Evolutionary Genomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen, Denmark; Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5A, Copenhagen 1352, Denmark
  • 8 Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), PRBB, Dr. Aiguader 88, Barcelona 08003, Spain
  • 9 Section for Evolutionary Genomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen, Denmark; School of Medical and Dental Sciences, Institute of Microbiology and Infection, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK
  • 10 CIIMAR/CIMAR, Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research, University of Porto, Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões, Av. General Norton de Matos, s/n, Porto 4450-208, Portugal; Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Porto, Porto 4169-007, Portugal
  • 11 The Palaeogenomics and Bio-Archaeology Research Network, Research Laboratory for Archaeology and History of Art, University of Oxford, 1 South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3TG, UK
  • 12 Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, Center for Computer Technologies, ITMO University, 49 Kronverkskiy Pr., St. Petersburg 197101, Russia; Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center, Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography, Nova Southeastern University, 8000 North Ocean Drive. Ft Lauderdale, FL 33004, USA
  • 13 Laboratory of Genomics and Molecular Biology, Escola de Ciências da Saúde e da Vida, PUCRS, Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil; INCT Ecologia, Evolução e Conservação da Biodiversidade (INCT-EECBio), Goiânia, GO, Brazil; Instituto Pró-Carnívoros, Atibaia, SP, Brazil
  • 14 Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA; The Walter Reed Biosystematics Unit, Museum Support Center MRC-534, Smithsonian Institution, 4210 Silver Hill Rd., Suitland, MD 20746-2863, USA; Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, 503 Robert Grant Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
  • 15 Center for Species Survival, Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, National Zoological Park, 1500 Remount Road, Front Royal, VA 22630, USA
  • 16 Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17, Berlin 10315, Germany
  • 17 Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Alfred-Kowalke-Str. 17, Berlin 10315, Germany; Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, University of Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 24-25, Potsdam 14476, Germany
  • 18 Centre for Palaeogenetics, Svante Arrhenius väg 20C, Stockholm SE-10691, Sweden; Department of Bioinformatics and Genetics, Swedish Museum of Natural History, Box 50007, Stockholm 10405, Sweden
  • 19 Institute of Evolutionary Biology (UPF-CSIC), PRBB, Dr. Aiguader 88, Barcelona 08003, Spain; CNAG-CRG, Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), The Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Baldiri Reixac 4, Barcelona 08028, Spain; Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats, ICREA, Barcelona 08003, Spain; Institut Català de Paleontologia Miquel Crusafont, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Edifici ICTA-ICP, c/ Columnes s/n, Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona 08193, Spain
  • 20 Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5A, Copenhagen 1352, Denmark; Section for GeoGenetics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen, Denmark
  • 21 BGI-Shenzhen, Shenzhen 518083, China; Section for Ecology and Evolution, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, Copenhagen, Denmark; State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650223, China
  • 22 Korean Genomics Center (KOGIC), Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea; Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Life Sciences, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST), Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea; Clinomics, Inc., Ulsan 44919, Republic of Korea; Personal Genomics Institute (PGI), Genome Research Foundation (GRF), Osong 28160, Republic of Korea
  • 23 Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Sustainable Development, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu, Kuala Nerus, Terengganu 21030, Malaysia
  • 24 Section for Evolutionary Genomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Voldgade 5-7, Copenhagen, Denmark; Department of Natural History, NTNU University Museum, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Trondheim NO-7491, Norway; Center for Evolutionary Hologenomics, The GLOBE Institute, University of Copenhagen, Øster Farimagsgade 5A, Copenhagen 1352, Denmark. Electronic address: tgilbert@sund.ku.dk
Curr Biol, 2020 12 21;30(24):5018-5025.e5.
PMID: 33065008 DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.09.051

Abstract

Homotherium was a genus of large-bodied scimitar-toothed cats, morphologically distinct from any extant felid species, that went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene [1-4]. They possessed large, saber-form serrated canine teeth, powerful forelimbs, a sloping back, and an enlarged optic bulb, all of which were key characteristics for predation on Pleistocene megafauna [5]. Previous mitochondrial DNA phylogenies suggested that it was a highly divergent sister lineage to all extant cat species [6-8]. However, mitochondrial phylogenies can be misled by hybridization [9], incomplete lineage sorting (ILS), or sex-biased dispersal patterns [10], which might be especially relevant for Homotherium since widespread mito-nuclear discrepancies have been uncovered in modern cats [10]. To examine the evolutionary history of Homotherium, we generated a ∼7x nuclear genome and a ∼38x exome from H. latidens using shotgun and target-capture sequencing approaches. Phylogenetic analyses reveal Homotherium as highly divergent (∼22.5 Ma) from living cat species, with no detectable signs of gene flow. Comparative genomic analyses found signatures of positive selection in several genes, including those involved in vision, cognitive function, and energy consumption, putatively consistent with diurnal activity, well-developed social behavior, and cursorial hunting [5]. Finally, we uncover relatively high levels of genetic diversity, suggesting that Homotherium may have been more abundant than the limited fossil record suggests [3, 4, 11-14]. Our findings complement and extend previous inferences from both the fossil record and initial molecular studies, enhancing our understanding of the evolution and ecology of this remarkable lineage.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.