Where did tigers come from?
Tigers (and all other carnivores) are descended from civet-like animals called miacids that lived during the age of the dinosaurs about 60 million years ago. These small mammals, with long bodies and short flexible limbs, evolved over millions of years into several hundred different species, including cats, bears, dogs and weasels. Approximately 37 cat species exist today, including Panthera tigris, the tiger.
Tigers evolved in eastern Asia. Andrew Kitchener states in the book The Natural History of Wild Cats, that
"Fossil tigers are known from the Late Pliocene/Early Pleistocene of southeastern Asia. A small primitive tiger was living in North China during the Early Pleistocene. Between 1.3 and 2.1 million years ago, tigers were living in Java...from about two million years ago, tigers spread from their evolutionary centre in eastern Asia in two directions. Tigers moving through the Central Asian woodlands to the west and southwest gave rise to the Caspian tigers. Secondly, tigers from China moved to the east of the central Asian mountains to southeastern Asian and the Indonesian islands, and thence westwards to India (Hemmer, 1987)."