Evolution of the Dog:

From Pekingese to St. Bernard and greyhound, dogs come in such startling variety it's easy to forget they belong to the same species. The profusion of breeds today -- at least 150 -- reflects intense, purposeful interbreeding of dogs in the past 150 years.

One consequence of interbreeding to create purebreds with sharply individual traits is that many disease-causing genes have become concentrated in these breeds. Because of the growing concern about health problems and the availability of powerful methods to hunt genes, scientists are hard at work on the "dog genome project." As with the Human Genome Project, the goal is to locate and map canine genes, particularly those that play a role in disease. Genes that influence behavior are also of great interest.

At the same time, the entire history of dogs and their relationship with humans has undergone some rethinking recently, thanks in large part to high-tech molecular dating methods that can determine evolutionary relationships and chronologies.

The dog, Canis familiaris, is a direct descendent of the gray wolf, Canis lupus: In other words, dogs as we know them are domesticated wolves. Not only their behavior changed; domestic dogs are different in form from wolves, mainly smaller and with shorter muzzles and smaller teeth.

Darwin was wrong about dogs. He thought their remarkable diversity must reflect interbreeding with several types of wild dogs. But the DNA findings say differently. All modern dogs are descendants of wolves, though this domestication may have happened twice, producing groups of dogs descended from two unique common ancestors.

How and when this domestication happened has been a matter of speculation. It was thought until very recently that dogs were wild until about 12,000 years ago. But DNA analysis published in 1997 suggests a date of about 130,000 years ago for the transformation of wolves to dogs. This means that wolves began to adapt to human society long before humans settled down and began practicing agriculture.

This earlier timing casts doubt on the long-held myth that humans domesticated dogs to serve as guards or companions to assist them. Rather, say some experts, dogs may have exploited a niche they discovered in early human society and got humans to take them in out of the cold. (pbs.org)

Evolution of the Cat:

All cats are in the Felidae family. It's not wrong to call them felids. Within the felidae family are two living subfamilies: Pantherinae (which includes jaguars, lions, leapards and tigers) and Felinae (which includes cougars, cheetahs, lynxes, ocelots and house cats). There was a third Felidae subfamily -- Machairodontinae, which included the smilodon, aka the saber-toothed tiger -- but they died off. The most recent common ancestor of all three families, extant and extinct, is the pseudaelurus. Its predecessor, the proailurus, may have been the first true felid. For more information click here

Evolution of the Lizard:

Evolution of the Rabbit:

The first recorded use of the "Easter Bunny" was in 1682
The rabbit is the third most popular pet in the U.S.

The British introduced them to the Romans and they were domesticated and kept by pets since the 19th century.

What we now know as the rabbit, was once called a coney. The word rabbit was the original name for a baby coney, but when people started to call the adult coney a rabbit as well, it caught on.
Lagomorpha, (The order of rabbits), evolved in Asia approximately 40 million years ago. With Pangaea occuring, it's believed that this is how rabbits were moved to different countries.

In 2005, the oldest living rabbit fossil was found. This species, which was named the Gomphos Elkema, was said to have been the first rabbit, and lived 55 million years ago. This gave scientists something to think about, since they believed that, until then, that rabbits were ancestors to a different species that lived 65 million years ago.
The Cottontail rabbit has obtained a white tail. This may seem odd as the tail stands out even more, but it's actually very useful. The white tail contrasts against the rest of the body to confuse predators while it zigzags in a pattern to throw the predator off track to be able to escape and survive.
Until the 19th century, rabbits were only considered useful for meat and fur. New "fancy" breeds (Such as Rex, Angora,etc.) were created and used for household pets and/or shows.
Rabbits began to consume large amounts of plants at a time to insure they got the nutrition they needed to function. This meant they needed a longer digestive tract.
In addition, bigger feet on the rabbit helps the animal to move faster in the wild.

Evolution of the