Giant lynxes roamed the British countryside 100 years ago.
A predatory lynx that is twice the size of a normal cat has been found in the vaults of a museum in Bristol. It was found stuffed and records show that it was shot dead in the countryside in the early 1900’s after it killed two dogs.
After the scientists made the discovery at the university they collaborated and aimed to prove that large cats were in existence in England previously then thought.
They analysed the creature’s skeleton and skin. From this they gained evidence that they were in England longer than people thought. This goes against a popular claim that wild cats only started appearing with the introduction of the Wild Animals Act which was introduced in England to stop the illegal fashion trade of animal skins and also dangerous pets. As an example, people would then release illegal captive pet pets into the wild after not wanting to be caught.
After tests on the lynx's bones and teeth. It was estimated that it had been kept in captivity a long time and had developed severe tooth loss and plaque. It was then, the scientists guessed, that it was likely put into the wild either be accident or on purpose. Sadly the DNA studies on the hair proved inconclusive possibly because of the chemicals applied when stuffing it.
The stuffed lynx had been donated to a museum in Bristol and had been kept in a storage room the whole time.
Dr Barnett said: "We think it had probably been in captivity at some point in its life.
"It had lost all of its incisors, which would have been a pretty debilitating injury for a wild cat, but not a problem for one in captivity.
"It also had massive amounts of plaque on its molars, which are indication of it not having a wild diet - something with lots of wet cat food, essentially ready-processed meat like steaks."
Dr Gregor Larson who was a member of the research team said that "Every few years there is another claim that big cats are living wild in Britain, but none of these claims have been substantiated.
"It seems that big cats are to England what the Loch Ness Monster is to Scotland."
As little as last year were there reports of lions in Essex and there is also the well publicised case of the Beast of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall. Most claims are usually made up as hoaxes, misidentifications or even hallucinations however the finding of the stuffed lynx proves otherwise.
Source: The Telegraph