Theoretical and empirical evidence suggests that the ecological niche of species tend to be conservative over 16 evolutionary time in many taxonomic groups, thus representing long-term stable constraints on species geographic 17 distributions.
Using an ecological niche modeling approach, we assessed the impact of climatic change on wild felid 18 species potential range shifts over the last 130 K years in the Americas and the potential of such shifts as an 19 extinction driver. We found a significant range shift for most species (both living and extinct) across their 20 distributions driven by large-scale environmental changes.
Proportionally, the most drastic range increase for all 21 species occurred in the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM: 18 K years)-Current transition, while for the Last Inter-22 Glacial (LIG: 130 K years)-LGM transition occurred an important range reduction, being larger for extinct North 23 American species.
In conclusion, the reduction of climatically suitable areas for many species in the transition LIG-24 LGM may have produced population reductions, which, in turn, may have played an important role in species’ 25 extinction throughout the continent