There is a world somewhere between reality and fiction. Although ignored by many, it is very real and so are those living in it. This forum is about the natural world. Here, wild animals will be heard and respected. The forum offers a glimpse into an unknown world as well as a room with a view on the present and the future. Anyone able to speak on behalf of those living in the emerald forest and the deep blue sea is invited to join.
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  Leopard interaction with big grass eating animals
Posted by: sanjay - 02-20-2018, 01:36 AM - Forum: Leopard - Replies (1)
I don't know, If any other suitable thread exist for this type of posts. I would like to post the interaction of Leopards with big grass eating animals (herbivores) like Buffalo, Rhino, Elephant, Giraffe and Bison...

I will start with an interesting video I found on YouTube, which I think is very interesting to watch. In this video a probably young leopard comes near to resting nomad cafe buffalo herd, in seems that both were not very much bothered by each other presence. Specially Cafe buffalo for being known as aggressive by nature, didn't react at all, they completely ignore the leopard and allow him to come close that much.

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  Lion Canines
Posted by: jbanneheka - 02-16-2018, 01:48 AM - Forum: Questions - Replies (7)
Hello everybody

I have a little question regarding a Lion teeth Pendent.
I bought a Pendent with a Lion teeth from a good friend.
There I saw a little dark line. (please check attached image.)

*This image is copyright of its original author

Now my question:
Maybe this lion has died with the old (I have read lion can live about 20 years) and these teeth will get older and its going to died as well. Is it so?
If yes, then the teeth will produce bacteria, and may I NOT wear them?
Or can I wear it for future?
Or this dard line is just a natural and I may have to clean them?

Does anyone have an idea?

Many thanks for your help.

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Smile Thank You
Posted by: oscusn59 - 02-15-2018, 07:45 AM - Forum: Forum Rules, Guides, Tips,Tutorials and Introduction - Replies (1)
I share the site with my grand daughter and discuss the lions. Excellent site for learning. Thank you all for your thoughts and photos. Keep up the amazing work.
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  Suspected poacher eaten by lions
Posted by: chaos - 02-13-2018, 07:34 AM - Forum: Lion - Replies (3)
A suspected poacher has been killed and eaten by the very lions he may have been hunting.
The article was posted on yahoo news today 2/12/2018.

All I can say is YAHOO!!!
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  Lokotunjailurus emagiratus
Posted by: epaiva - 02-13-2018, 01:13 AM - Forum: Pleistocene Big Cats - No Replies
As tall at the shoulders as a lioness, it was more lightly built. In contrast to that of Homotherium, in Lokotunjailurus the lumbar section of the vertebral column was not greatly shortened. The holotype skeleton of Lokotunjailurus is excepcionally good preserved, including the articulated forepaws, with their claw phalanges in place.
This makes evident the disproportionately large size of the dewclaw, larger than the same element in a lion of considerable larger body size, while the claws of the second to the fourth digits were smaller than the same elements in a leopard, which of course is a much smaller animal than Lokotunjailurus. That huge dewclaw would have been a visible feature of the live animal, even when covered with flesh and fur.
This sabertooth was described by the Swedish paleontologist Werdelin in 2003 from the fossil site of Lothagam in Kenya. The holotype is a nearly complete skeleton first discovered in 1992 by a team led by M. Leakey (Leakey and Harris 2003), although back then it was not known what kind of carnivore the skeleton belonged to. Several bones were found eroding out of a cliff side, the team delayed more complete excavation until the next campaign. In 1993 a complete operation finally led to the extraction of a huge block of matrix containning the associated skeleton, which was revealed to be part of a sabertooth cat.
Skeleton top and reconstructed life appearance of Lokotunjailurus emagiratus, shoulder height: 90 cm
Book Sabertooth (Mauricio Anton)

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*This image is copyright of its original author
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  Gaboon viper (Bitis gabonica)
Posted by: epaiva - 02-10-2018, 04:45 AM - Forum: Reptiles and Birds - Replies (1)
The Gaboon viper is a viper species found in the rainforests and savannas of sub Saharan Africa.  Like all vipers, it is venomous. It is the largest member of the genus and it has the longest fangs – up to 2 inches in length (5 cm) – and the highest venom yield of any snake
Adults average 125–155 cm (4 to 5 feet) in total length with a maximum total length of 205 cm (81 in) for a specimen collected in Sierra_Leone. The sexes may be distinguished by the length of the teeth in relation to the total length of the body: approximately 12% for males and 6% for females. Adults, especially females, are very heavy and stout.
Credits to @gabekahsen @xalinkx @zaffy_zk and @christopher.gecko

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
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  Sloths and Armadillos
Posted by: brotherbear - 01-30-2018, 04:49 PM - Forum: Prehistoric animals - Replies (2)  
The burrowers
Posted on November 21, 2014 by twilightbeasts
To witness the full majestic sight of the Giant Ground Sloth in all it’s glory, it is best to visit at twilight. For around half an hour after the museum doors open, and then again for around half an hour just before they close, there are few visitors to distract you. Walk along the grand corridor, past exquisite remains of reptiles that once thrashed around in the warm Jurassic seas, which now line the walls watching you form their rocky entombment. At the end of the corridor, standing handsomely, proudly in the corner, is the Giant Ground Sloth; the truly magnificent Megatherium americanum.
Almost a decade ago, I volunteered at the Natural History Museum, London in the fossil mammals department. Each morning, often before museum visitors were pouring in, I would admire this massive beast; its robust legs, its massive rib cage that must have once housed an enormous gut, the giant claws, and that cute looking head. Then, I would silently slink through a secret door to carry out my work with some awesome Ice Age fossils.

Megatherium was a true giant. One of the largest Twilight Beasts, this was the largest sloth to have walked the Earth. The enormous creature would have towered above any human, and standing upright on its back legs, it would have easily been able to peer inside the top windows of a double decker bus. Massive, robust leg bones could have held the bulk of this beast as it reared up and fed from higher branches, or even to defend itself against predators, like a foolhardy Smilodon.
Skeletal reconstructions generally have Megatherium standing, and rightly so, for this is the best way to show off the impressive size. Illustrations do vary from these sloths grabbing branches whilst standing, to crawling on all fours. Looking at the short legs, although thick and strong, they would have struggled to keep an animal this size upright permanently; if it had to travel for long distances, it is most likely that it travelled on four legs. Interestingly, most of the Megatherium footprints which have been preserved in 10,000 year old mud show this sloth to be walking on its back legs. Perhaps it was easier to walk on two legs than four along the sticky, squelchy, muddy banks?
Fossils have been found across South America, from sites in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. This was one of the first fossils outside of Europe to be described. Eight years after the first specimens were shipped back to Madrid, the great French anatomist, Georges Cuvier, published the first description of this extinct sloth. He correctly assigned the fossils to the sloth Order, Pilosa, and thought its giant claws were used for digging tunnels: Cuvier had created a mole bigger than an elephant! (This actually wasn’t that fanciful. Mammoths thawing out of the permafrost in Siberia were thought by the local people to have been giant burrowing moles, where they used their tusks to dig, and sadly died on exposure to the sun.).

Cuvier was right in taking such an interest in the claws. Longer than your forearm, Megatherium claws on it’s hands and feet were immense. Swiping with their giant arms, and very likely causing serious damage, this was a giant not to be messed with. Some researchers suggest they were used to bring down leaves from high branches; beneficial when you are bigger and can stretch further than other herbivores. Their teeth indicate they had quite a varied diet, from leaves and fruits on trees to succulent plants closer to the ground, and these large claws may easily have been used to dig up plant roots and tubers to feed upon.

There is a striking similarity between Megatherium‘s claw shape to an animal in the same Order, but with a much more specialised lifestyle. Anteaters have huge claws (resulting in their seemingly odd gait) which they use to rip open termite nests and then use their incredibly long, sticky tongues to feed solely on these nutritious insects. Recent excavations in Southern Brazil show that Cuvier’s original thoughts about a  subterranean giant were actually not that far off. Incredible tunnels up to 100m long, and over a meter high have been found which were dug out by Pleistocene sloths! The soft sediment still preserves the claws marks from the creatures who painstakingly dug them out. Giant armadillos and ground sloths (possibly including Megatherium) dug into the earth, with their big claws. They clearly did spend some time underground. These palaeoburrows are remarkable evidence of the habits of an extinct creature (click here for a nice image). But the use of these burrows is still unknown. There has been little found inside the burrows to indicate if they were used for hibernating, or living in. A colleague recently suggested the possibility that the males may have patiently dug out these burrows to attract a female. They are very cleanly made, with a lot of effort, and taking a lot of time to move the sediment out of the tunnel. Perhaps Megatherium was the sloth version of the Bower Bird. It is difficult to test this today, but if true, these giants were making their own little tunnel of love!

Some researchers have thought that Megatherium could have been a scavenger, using its massive bulk to steal carcasses from other predators. The Giant Ground Sloth would have had no problems scaring away any animal if it chose to scavenge half eaten kills from other predators. There is little real evidence to say the diet was supplemented with fresh flesh, apart from the massive claws. But the claws are not enough. You need sharp teeth to cut the meat and chew it. Megatherium lacked any sharp slicing teeth. The molars were ridged like many herbivores for chomping up vegetation. In fact, this giant lacks the front incisors which are normally used for nipping grass or leaves; instead, there may have been a very long tongue like a giraffe, or big, prehensile lips, similar to a rhinoceros.

Although fur has been found preserved in caves for Mylodon, none has yet been found for Megatherium. It is possible the fur was long and shaggy, not too dissimilar to the preserved fur from Mylodon, or the thick long fur of sloths alive today. The gorgeous tree sloth has long thick hair, and is known to harbour green algae, that makes it look green, blending in beautifully with the surrounding forest. There is a hidden world within the fur. It teems with insects, parasites, and fungi. Whatever the colour, or thickness of Megatherium’s fur, this giant was very likely a walking island for dozens of tiny species. Along with the extinction of Megatherium presumably most of these tiny animals who called it home vanished too. It is often strange to think that there are so many species that have existed on our planet that we will never know were there.

From trundling around South America for over 2 million years, the great Megatherium vanished fairly recently, around 10,000 years ago. Towards the end of the Pleistocene, the climate was changing, which had an effect on so many of the Twilight Beasts. From the warm temperate, arid to semi-arid environments the Giant Ground Sloth was at home in, the environment changed to cooler and drier with more grasses. For the ginormous browsing herbivore, the changing landscape was a big problem. On top of their shrinking natural habitat, a new creature was on the scene; Homo sapiens. In Argentina, the sites of Arroyo Seco and Paso Otero have revealed Megatharium americanum bones,  alongside human artifacts. No cut marks have been found on the bones yet. But, with spears and other projectiles, humans could have easily, and safely, attacked this giant. Large mammals will often have large gestation periods. Elephants, for example, carry their baby for around 2 years; for a mouse, it is around 20 days. With Megatherium under stress from a changing environment, and additional pressures from being hunted, their long gestation time would not have allowed them to increase their numbers quickly enough.
Bones of Megatherium were sought after by the Victorians. Along with Mammoth, the Giant Ground Sloth was a creature to behold and admire. Soon, the great dinosaurs stole the lime light, pushing the Giant Ground Sloth back into obscurity. Whilst walking past the magnificent skeleton at the Natural History Museum, more than a dozen times I have heard children, and adults, excitedly, but rather sadly, exclaim, ‘Wow! Look at this dinosaur!’ Megatherium americanum is a beast dear to my heart, and needs no title of ‘dinosaur’ to beef it up.
Written by Jan Freedman (@JanFreedman)
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  Prehistoric Apes
Posted by: brotherbear - 01-29-2018, 10:19 PM - Forum: Prehistoric animals - Replies (1)  
Following in the footsteps of his predecessors the German palaeontologist, Ralph von Koenigswald, scoured Chinese medicine shops and examined their piles of dragon bones before they were ground down to dust. He was searching for more Homo erectus fossils to potentially point to new sites. Amongst the many different fossils he saw, von Koenigswald discovered a molar. A massive molar. He spent 4 more years searching the little obscure pharmacies, and was rewarded with three more massive teeth. These molars were enormous. The teeth had features which were very similar to orang-utan teeth, leading Von Koenigswald to propose these fossil teeth belonged to a new species of extinct ape, which he named Gigantopithecus (literally meaning ‘giant ape’).
At the height of the Second World War, von Koenigswald was held as a prisoner of war on the Island of Java. Luckily, his four teeth were safely buried in a garden. With von Koenigswald and his original fossils safe, but both temporarily out of the picture, a colleague at the American Museum of Natural History, the anthropologist Franz Weidenreich, examined casts of the four teeth. Weidenreich theorised they were the teeth of an extinct species of human. An extinct species of giant human. The theory lasted for nearly twenty years, with Weidenreich even writing a fairly convincing book, Apes, Giants and Humans. For a while, these four teeth were evidence that a giant human thrundled across the Asian landscape, and was the ancestor of modern Asian and Australian humans.
In the 1950s, Chinese palaeontologists sought to find more fossils of these mysterious giants. Teams headed around the provenance in search of the very source of these fossils, talking to villagers and farmers for possible leads. One team found a number of teeth in-situ in reddish cave sediment; the first fossils found linked to stratigraphy. Another team had more luck and discovered over a thousand teeth and a fossilised jaw. Gigantopithecus was a giant ape, not a human ancestor.

Three species of Gigantopithecus have been discovered so far: G. blacki, G. bilaspurensis and G. giganteus. Fossils of this Genus have been found across Nepal, China, India and Vietnam, and in sediments which suggest the group originates around 9 million years ago. These were a very successful group of apes. The largest, and the first species discovered in that Chinese medicine shop, was Gigantopithecus blacki. This ape had some pretty impressive statistics: it may have been around 3 meters tall, and weighed as much as three gorillas. This was the largest ape (so far discovered) ever to have walked the Earth.
As with any extinct creature, clues to the size and lifestyle can be inferred from the fossils (and trace fossils if they exist). Current fossils finds of Gigantopithecus blacki suggest a slightly restricted geographical range to China and Vietnam. With no post cranial bones found so far, and only a handful of jaws and a few thousand teeth, can we really provide an accurate description of this giant, let alone suggest how it lived?
Surprisingly, we can get an awful lot of information from these fossils.
The teeth and jaws show that this creature was an ape. Unmistakably an ape. But an ape of gigantic proportions. We can make a fairly good guess to the size of this animal based on the size of the jaws; it is highly unlikely that this was an average sized ape with a ridiculously oversized head. Keeping it simple, researchers have used measurements from orang-utan skulls to work out the size of G. blacki’s skull, by scaling upwards. (It is thought that orang-utans were close relatives, and the two species had similar feeding habits.) From the estimated head size, you can work out the body size, the head to body ratio of 1:65 (using the gorilla as the model assuming G. blacki didn’t swing through threes like an orang-utan). So with a little maths, and tweaking of ratios to best fit how this big ape would have moved, researchers came up with the height and weight. Admittedly, this method is based on a skull size which is calculated by a very small number of jaws which wouldn’t provide an exact average and we have no idea how G. blacki moved. But from what we have, the estimates are not too bad. More complete fossils will provide more precise data.

The teeth themselves, and there are a lot, provide some really interesting information. The flat surfaces, and the low cusps, of the molars and premolars suggest that it was chewing a lot of tough plant material, such as bamboo. Firing beams of electrons at the teeth with a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) shows the smallest scratches, and even tiny particles on the teeth. The SEM highlighted little phytoliths on the teeth, which are tiny secretions made by plants and they remain after the plant has long gone. With phytoliths present and some actually embedded in the surface of a couple, Gigantopithecus blacki was definitely eating grasses. Although these small silica blobs don’t give the species of plant, it is more than likely that they were from bamboo; this grass was in such an abundance, more than enough to sustain the appetite of such a large herbivore.

The sex lives of this big ape can also be worked out by the teeth. A very detailed study of 735 teeth grouped them into two different size ranges, big teeth and smaller teeth. These are not the teeth of different species; this size range is typical for species with sexual dimorphism: male Gigantopithecus blacki were much larger than the females, similar to gorillas today. Male gorillas are much larger than females, and will have several in their harem. Possibly G. blacki had a similar sex life with males using their larger size to compete for females and hold a harem.

Our own relatives, Homo erectus would have seen Gigantopithecus blacki. Two caves in China (Jianshi Cave and Longgupo Cave) and one in Vietnam (Tham Khuyen Cave) have revealed fossils of both G. blacki and Homo erectus. Radiometric dating at Tham Khuyen places the fossils there at around 500,000 years ago and Longgupo Cave has produced an even older date between 1.5 and 1.9 million years ago. Across Asia, one species of human co-existed with these giants for over a million years. But then, around 100,000 years ago, Gigantopithecus blacki, the last in the line of these apes, became extinct. Their demise may have been dues to a series of unfortunate events. At a similar time, giant pandas had moved to the same range, competing for the same food. Another species of ape, Homo sapiens was fairly new to the scene and may have even hunted G. blacki for food (there is no direct evidence for this, but primate meat is a large source of protein in Africa). Their specialist diet may have provided the fatal blow: bamboo are known for their periodic mass die offs, and take the food source away from a specialist eater and it will be in trouble.
Currently no complete skeletons, or even post cranial bones have been found. The acidic soil of forests, along with the many different types of minibeasts living there, break down flesh and bones fairly rapidly leaving nothing left (this is why the fossil record for chimpanzees, gorillas and other forest dwelling animals is so poor). Finding teeth and jaws in caves does not mean these were living in the caves. It is more likely they represent individuals who were killed, or scavenged, and dragged into the caves. More fossils will give us more information on these giants.
Written by Jan Freedman (@Jan Freedman)
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  Metailurus major
Posted by: epaiva - 01-29-2018, 04:28 AM - Forum: Prehistoric animals - Replies (1)
With roughly the body size of a large Leopard and unspecialized morphology, Metailurus major looks like a slightly more evolved version of Pseudaelurus quadridentatus. The skull and dentition of Metailurus major show incipient machairodont features such as moderately long, flattened upper canines, long and narrow premolars, and large carnassials. The animal was known for over seventy years on the basis of cranial and dental remains only (Zdansky 1924) but recently a remarkably complete skeleton was found in Bulgaria, giving us our first glimpse of the body proportions of this sabertooth. The Bulgarian skeleton was described by D. Kovarchev (2001) and classified in a new species, The skeleton of M. major corresponds to an animal larger that a male cougar, but whose proportions overall would be very similar except for longer hind limbs. In contrast, in derived sabertooths like Smilodon and Homotherium, there is shortening of the lower hind limb bones, to a greater or lesses degree.
Book Sabertooth (Mauricio Anton)

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author
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  Bovids of the Pleistocene
Posted by: Spalea - 01-28-2018, 07:58 PM - Forum: Prehistoric animals - Replies (4)
The Pleistocene undoubtely, appears to have been a golden Age concerning the great mammals. Among them the American buffalos:

1) bison latifrons. Length: 3,40 m, Height: 2,50 m, weight: 2000 kilos North America

*This image is copyright of its original author

Bison priscus: lenght: 3m, heigth: 2m, weigth: 1200 kilos Eurasia and North America

*This image is copyright of its original author

Let us also mention Bison Antiquus. 3m60 lenght, 2m27 height, 1600 kilos weigth. The most common large herbivore of the North American continent.

*This image is copyright of its original author

To be continued...
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