The Thoughtful Animal

The Thoughtful Animal

Exploring the evolution and architecture of the mind

Incredible Camera Trap Footage of the Rare African Golden Cat [Video]


The word of the day is cathemeral. The word describes the African golden cat (Profelis aurata), a wild feline about twice the size of your average housecat. It means that the species, which is found in the rainforests of Western, Eastern, and Central Africa, is neither diurnal nor nocturnal, but active both during the day and at night. The word was coined by anthropologist Ian Tattersall in 1987, and derives from the Greek words kata, meaning through, and hemera, meaning day. "Day," in this case, refers to a complete 24-hour period, rather than to the daylight hours.

The cathemerality of the African golden cat is one finding from new research conducted by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society and from Panthera, who had previously classified the species as nocturnal.

Since the cats are so elusive, the scientists who study these animals' responses to deforestation and overhunting rely on camera traps to see them. Today, the WCS released new footage of an African golden cat from Uganda’s Kibale National Park.

"With what," you might ask, "did the researchers bait the camera traps to lure the cat for its clandestine photo-shoot?" They used Calvin Klein Obsession For Men. Obviously.


You’ll Never Guess How Biologists Lure Jaguars To Camera Traps

Header image: Felis Aurata. Drawing from Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, dated 1873, by John Gerrard Keulemans. Public domain.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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