concolor has dozens of names and various references in the mythology of the indigenous Americans and in contemporary culture.Currently, it is referred to as "puma" by most scientists "Puma" is the common name in Spanish or Portuguese-speaking countries but the cat has many local or regional names in the United States and Canada, of which cougar, puma, mountain lion, and panther are popular.In the 17th century, German naturalist Georg Marcgrave named the cat the cuguacu ara.Marcgrave's rendering was reproduced by his associate, Dutch naturalist Willem Piso, in 1648.
Cougars sometimes voice low-pitched hisses, growls, and purrs, as well as chirps and whistles, many of which are comparable to those of domestic cats.Cougars can be almost as large as jaguars, but are less muscular and not as powerfully built; where their ranges overlap, the cougar tends to be smaller on average.The cougar is on average larger than all felids apart from lions, tigers, and jaguars.Other names include catamount (probably a contraction from "cat of the mountain"), mountain screamer, and painter.Lexicographers regard painter as a primarily upper-Southern US regional variant on panther.Taxonomic research on felids remains partial, and much of what is known about their evolutionary history is based on mitochondrial DNA analysis, and significant confidence intervals exist with suggested dates. The cheetah lineage is suggested by some studies to have diverged from the Puma lineage in the Americas (see American cheetah) and migrated back to Asia and Africa, A high level of genetic similarity has been found among North American cougar populations, suggesting they are all fairly recent descendants of a small ancestral group. propose the original North American population of P.concolor was extirpated during the Pleistocene extinctions some 10,000 years ago, when other large mammals, such as Smilodon, also disappeared.In the latest genomic study of the Felidae, the common ancestor of today's Leopardus, Lynx, Puma, Prionailurus, and Felis lineages migrated across the Bering land bridge into the Americas 8.0 to 8.5 million years ago (Mya). North America was then repopulated by a group of South American cougars.It also hunts species as small as insects and rodents.This cat prefers habitats with dense underbrush and rocky areas for stalking, but can also live in open areas.An adaptable, generalist species, the cougar is found in most American habitat types.It is the second-heaviest cat in the New World, after the jaguar.