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Cats vs dogs? Scientists have declared a winner, and it's not for the reasons you'd expect

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Be you a dog lover or cat person, it’s hard to argue with science, especially when it draws a winner from the ongoing battle of the pets.

Though the debate has raged on for years, with animal lovers firing everything from the admirable independence of cats to the more affectionate nature of dogs at the opposing camp, science has spoken.

Cats win.

At least from an evolutionary perspective, say a group of researchers from University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

While studying 2,000 ancient animal fossils, the team has found that not only have wild cats been more successful at survival than dogs, but they’ve actually helped to wipe out a few canine species along the way.

As many as 40 breeds of dog are thought have become extinct over the years, due to their feline counterparts being better at hunting, and more effective when competing for scarce food supplies.

“The arrival of cats to North America [from Asia] had a deadly impact on the diversity of the dog family,” says the report's lead author Dr Daniele Silvestro, talking to independent.co.uk.

“We usually expect changes in climate to play the overwhelming role in the evolution of species. Instead, competition among different carnivore species proved to be even more important for the dogs.”

The exact characteristics and skills which make cats more adept at surviving in the wild aren’t yet clear, but the scientists believe it’s likely down to retractable claws, which dogs don’t have, and better ambushing techniques.

Image: Rex Features/Homeward Bound

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