Cheetah Essay

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The cheetah, also known as Acinonyx jubatus in the scientific world, is one of the most speedy, agile, and fiesty animals on land. It is the oldest feline out of the thirty seven different species of cats, originating over four million years ago. With the start of the last Ice Age, approximately 10,000 years ago, all the cheetah in North America, Europe, and most of those in Asia and Africa perished. Fossils have been discovered in what is now Nevada, Wyoming, and Texas. From those that did survive this epic Ice Age, and from evolution of closely related animals, descended the cheetah that we recognize today. The cheetah has its own genus, however, it shares the same subfamily Felinae with numerous other animals, such as the cougar, lynx, jaguar, and bobcat. Currently, there are six subspecies of cheetahs, which include the Acinonyx jubatus hecki from West Africa, the Acinonyx jubatus jubatus from Southern Africa, the Acinonyx jubatus raineyii from East Africa, the Acinonyx jubatus soemmeringii from Central Asia, the Acinonyx jubatus velox, and the Acinonyx jubatus venaticus. Each of these subspecies can be distinguished by the subtle differences in their coats. Throughout history, cheetahs have been held in captivity and easily tamed. Sumerians were the first people known to tame the cheetah and Egyptians made them appear god-like. Akbar the Great of India kept nine thousand cheetah in his forty five year reign from 1555 to 1600 AD. Furthermore, cheetahs have been used by the Pharaohs, royalty, and even by the emperor Charlemagne for hunting and as symbols of nobility. Cheetahs are found to inhabit southern and eastern Africa, with Namibia having the largest population of about 2,500. A small population of only a few hundred may still exist in the northern Arabian Peninsula and Northwest Afghanistan. Most areas where cheetahs are found are semi-arid areas

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