When were ocelots discovered?

We don’t know when ocelots were discovered because it happened at a time before science and record keeping was developed and the classification of the species had taken place. You’d have to go back perhaps hundreds of thousands of years to find the moment when a human first saw an ocelot and killed it no doubt for its skin. Some wild cat species evolved millions of years ago. For example jaguar fossils date from 2.5 million years ago.


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The lion evolved in Africa between 1 million and 800,000 years go. I think that it is far to say that the ocelot was first discovered hundreds of thousands of years ago if not a hundred thousand years ago. Hunting and gathering was the way humans survived 1.8 million years ago.

There are fossil records of ocelots from Florida and Arizona in the United States and from the Yucatán in Mexico. They were seen as far north as Arkansas and Arizona in North America. Hundreds of thousands of ocelots have been killed for their coat. What a shame from the cat’s perspective that such a magnificent coat evolved on this cat. In 1970 the US fur market imported 140,000 ocelot pelts. It takes 12.9 skins to make a coat.

We do know that this beautiful species of medium-sized wild cat was first classified by a Swedish botanist and zoologist, Carl Linnaeus (1707-1778). He classified the ocelot in 1758 and called it Leopardus Pardalis. All species are classified in Latin. Perhaps Linnaeus started the convention because he is the founder of modern taxonomy and a lot of his writings were in Latin. He even had a Latin version of is name: Carolus a Linné.

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