Document Type


Publication Date



We propose a standardized karyotype for the raccoon (Procyon lotor; 2n = 38, FN 74) and compare it with that of the domestic cat (2n = 38, FN 72). Numerous chromosomes (12) have similar and sometimes identical G-banding and 14 chromosome pairs have remained intact. Other chromosomes apparently differ by Robertsonian translocations and inversions. The conservation of these karyotypes is remarkable considering that the divergence of procyonids and felids predates 50 million years B.P. However, the common diploid number of 38 is not a primitive retention, as sometimes hypothesized. Instead, cats and raccoons converged on this chromosome number by a different series of translocations. The unsolved problems of carnivore phylogeny could benefit from a combination of high resolution banding and molecular cytogenetic analyses.