Early forms of the cheetah are also believed to have inhabited North America as far back as 2½ million years ago (Acinonyx studeri) to as recently as 12,000 years ago in the smaller form of Acinonyx trumani. Although the ‘American’ cheetahs exhibited many characteristics of the modern cheetah there is some evidence against a close relationship. It has also been suggested that the cheetah in North America has possible ancestral links with the puma.
The early ‘Old World’ form, Acinonyx pardinensis found in Europe, closely resembled the modern day cheetah apart from being noticeably larger. Fossil remains of A.pardinensis in France,have been dated at around 2 million years.