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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - Printable Version

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RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - BorneanTiger - 09-02-2019

(09-02-2019, 06:14 PM)peter Wrote: POCOCK ON MR. LIMOUZIN'S SKULL

Almost a century ago, a Mr. Limouzin shot a very large leopard in India. At least, he thought it was a leopard. Same for Mr. Prater, a big cat authority who saw the skull. As a result of the unusual size and the doubts expressed by some, the skull was discussed in the JBNHS.

Poster 'Luipaard' recently posted a part of the discussion in the thread 'Size Comparisons'. When I said the skull belonged to a tiger, he wanted to see proof. The reason was he got the informaton on Mr. Limouzin's specimen from an authority who had published on the skull. I posted a paragraph of Pocock's letter to the JBNHS and promised I would scan and post his letter. Here it is.

As not all of us have the time to read his letter, I'll do a summary.

When the skull of the big cat shot by Mr. Limouzin had been found, Mr. Prater published a photograph of the side view (profile) of the skull together with photographs of an Indian leopard, a tiger and a lion. Pocock saw the photograph and quickly concluded the skull belonged to a tiger. This decision was not accepted by Mr. Limouzin and Mr. Prater. Pocock offered to examine the skull. Mr. Limouzin accepted the offer and brought the skull to the Natural History Museum in October 1929, when he returned to England. Pocock had it for a week and again concluded it was the skull of a young adult tigress. Adult in the sense of being sexually mature, but youngish in that the sutures hadn't quite closed. Pocock didn't doubt that age would have added a bit of length and, in particular, width.

In December 1929, he sent a letter to the JBNHS. It has two plates. I'll do another post on the skull in the tiger thread:


*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


Here's the two plates:


*This image is copyright of its original author

This gives me the impression that the skull belongs to a melanistic tigress which could have been mistaken for a black leopard. After all, as mentioned by @Luipaard, Limouzin asserted that he and Col. W. saw a 'panther', and though the word 'panther' is used in mainstream science to refer to black leopards and jaguars, there have also been allegations of melanistic cougars (see the photo below), at least one melanistic Asiatic lion from Iran, and yes, melanistic tigers. Add to that the mystery of the Australian black panther, or the felid behind the name and history of Singapore (derived from a Sanskrit phrase meaning "Lion City"): if it was a tiger, then how could a Prince from a tiger-containing place like Sumatra, Malaya or Southeast Asia mistake it for a lion, which isn't native to Southeast Asia, as argued by Turnbull?

Miguel Ruiz Herrero and his "black puma": http://karlshuker.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-truth-about-black-pumas-separating.html

*This image is copyright of its original author


Painting of a North American black panther by William Rebsamen: 

*This image is copyright of its original author


Layard's account of a large, melanistic Persian lion, 1841, in the book of Kinnear (1920):
[attachment=3041]

Australian "black panther" caught on the 28th of May, 2010, near Mudgee in New South Wales, by Paul Cauchi and Naomi: https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/on-the-hunt-for-the-big-cat-that-refuses-to-die-20100619-ynw2.html

*This image is copyright of its original author


Melanistic tiger cub born to a regular tigress in Nandankanan Zoo, Bhubaneshwar, India: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india/four-cubs-born-to-white-tigress-at-nandankanan-zoo-one-of-them-is-black/story-oNi4H8q3xotHGUfySE6EnN.htmlhttps://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/nandankanan-zoo-unveils-its-rare-melanistic-tigers/article7475342.ece

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - chui_ - 09-02-2019

(09-02-2019, 06:14 PM)peter Wrote: POCOCK ON MR. LIMOUZIN'S SKULL

Almost a century ago, a Mr. Limouzin shot a very large leopard in India. At least, he thought it was a leopard. Same for Mr. Prater, a big cat authority who saw the skull. As a result of the unusual size and the doubts expressed by some, the skull was discussed in the JBNHS.

Poster 'Luipaard' recently posted a part of the discussion in the thread 'Size Comparisons'. When I said the skull belonged to a tiger, he wanted to see proof. The reason was he got the informaton on Mr. Limouzin's specimen from an authority who had published on the skull. I posted a paragraph of Pocock's letter to the JBNHS and promised I would scan and post his letter. Here it is.

As not all of us have the time to read his letter, I'll do a summary.

When the skull of the big cat shot by Mr. Limouzin had been found, Mr. Prater published a photograph of the side view (profile) of the skull together with photographs of an Indian leopard, a tiger and a lion. Pocock saw the photograph and quickly concluded the skull belonged to a tiger. This decision was not accepted by Mr. Limouzin and Mr. Prater. Pocock offered to examine the skull. Mr. Limouzin accepted the offer and brought the skull to the Natural History Museum in October 1929, when he returned to England. Pocock had it for a week and again concluded it was the skull of a young adult tigress. Adult in the sense of being sexually mature, but youngish in that the sutures hadn't quite closed. Pocock didn't doubt that age would have added a bit of length and, in particular, width.

In December 1929, he sent a letter to the JBNHS. It has two plates. I'll do another post on the skull in the tiger thread:


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author

Great summary. I would point out, however, with regards to the Congo leopard skull ( the largest leopard skull in the British Natural History Museum) used for comparison was itself that of a youngish adult male. Pocock noted in his 1932 paper, The Leopards of Africa, that this big skull from the Welle River in northern Congo would probably have grown longer and broadened with age even though it was already very muscularly well developed. Most other adult male leopard skulls from scientific sources of similar length are broader by 10-20mm.


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author


The Gabon skull, Pocock was referring to was similar in length to the Congo skull at 11.1" (282mm) but was broader at 7.1+" (181mm). The measurements of that skull and others from that region are in the following table. Note even this skull according to Pocock was also not from a particularly old male (meaning it may have gotten a bit bigger as well).


*This image is copyright of its original author



(09-02-2019, 07:09 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: This gives me the impression that the skull belongs to a melanistic tigress which could have been mistaken for a black leopard. After all, as mentioned by @Luipaard, Limouzin asserted that he and Col. W. saw a 'panther', and though the word 'panther' is used in mainstream science to refer to black leopards and jaguars, there have also been allegations of melanistic cougars (see the photo below), at least one melanistic Asiatic lion from Iran, and yes, melanistic tigers. Add to that the mystery of the Australian black panther, or the felid behind the name and history of Singapore (derived from a Sanskrit phrase meaning "Lion City"): if it was a tiger, then how could a Prince from a tiger-containing place like Sumatra, Malaya or Southeast Asia mistake it for a lion, which isn't native to Southeast Asia, as argued by Turnbull?

You seem to be confused by the word panther. That does not mean they were referring to a melanistic leopard as you seem to be thinking. The word panther was commonly used for leopards in general (both normal phase and black) in the early 20th century, especially in India. Often panther was used for big leopards and leopard for small ones - because of the huge variation in size in leopards many early hunters/naturalists believed there were 2 distinct types - a big one and small one. But Pocock simply used the word Panther because that is how leopards were referred to in India at the time (even now some people in India use the word panther for all leopards).


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - BorneanTiger - 09-02-2019

(09-02-2019, 07:50 PM)chui_ Wrote:
(09-02-2019, 06:14 PM)peter Wrote: POCOCK ON MR. LIMOUZIN'S SKULL

Almost a century ago, a Mr. Limouzin shot a very large leopard in India. At least, he thought it was a leopard. Same for Mr. Prater, a big cat authority who saw the skull. As a result of the unusual size and the doubts expressed by some, the skull was discussed in the JBNHS.

Poster 'Luipaard' recently posted a part of the discussion in the thread 'Size Comparisons'. When I said the skull belonged to a tiger, he wanted to see proof. The reason was he got the informaton on Mr. Limouzin's specimen from an authority who had published on the skull. I posted a paragraph of Pocock's letter to the JBNHS and promised I would scan and post his letter. Here it is.

As not all of us have the time to read his letter, I'll do a summary.

When the skull of the big cat shot by Mr. Limouzin had been found, Mr. Prater published a photograph of the side view (profile) of the skull together with photographs of an Indian leopard, a tiger and a lion. Pocock saw the photograph and quickly concluded the skull belonged to a tiger. This decision was not accepted by Mr. Limouzin and Mr. Prater. Pocock offered to examine the skull. Mr. Limouzin accepted the offer and brought the skull to the Natural History Museum in October 1929, when he returned to England. Pocock had it for a week and again concluded it was the skull of a young adult tigress. Adult in the sense of being sexually mature, but youngish in that the sutures hadn't quite closed. Pocock didn't doubt that age would have added a bit of length and, in particular, width.

In December 1929, he sent a letter to the JBNHS. It has two plates. I'll do another post on the skull in the tiger thread:


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author

Great summary. I would point out, however, with regards to the Congo leopard skull ( the largest leopard skull in the British Natural History Museum) used for comparison was itself that of a youngish adult male. Pocock noted in his 1932 paper, The Leopards of Africa, that this big skull from the Welle River in northern Congo would probably have grown longer and broader even though it was already very muscularly well developed. A few other adult male leopard skulls from scientific sources of similar length are broader by 10-20mm.


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author


The Gabon skull, Pocock was referring to was similar in length to the Congo skull at 11.1" (282mm) but was broader at 7.1+" (181mm). The measurements of that skull and others from that region are in the following table. Note even this skull according to Pocock was also not from a particularly old male (meaning it may have gotten a big bigger as well).


*This image is copyright of its original author



(09-02-2019, 07:09 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: This gives me the impression that the skull belongs to a melanistic tigress which could have been mistaken for a black leopard. After all, as mentioned by @Luipaard, Limouzin asserted that he and Col. W. saw a 'panther', and though the word 'panther' is used in mainstream science to refer to black leopards and jaguars, there have also been allegations of melanistic cougars (see the photo below), at least one melanistic Asiatic lion from Iran, and yes, melanistic tigers. Add to that the mystery of the Australian black panther, or the felid behind the name and history of Singapore (derived from a Sanskrit phrase meaning "Lion City"): if it was a tiger, then how could a Prince from a tiger-containing place like Sumatra, Malaya or Southeast Asia mistake it for a lion, which isn't native to Southeast Asia, as argued by Turnbull?

You seem to be confused by the word panther. That does not mean they were referring to a melanistic leopard as you seem to be thinking. The word panther was commonly used for leopards in general (both normal phase and black) in the early 20th century, especially in India. Often panther was used for big leopards and leopard for small ones - because of the huge variation in size in leopards many early hunters/naturalists believed there were 2 distinct types - a big one and small one. But Pocock simply used the word Panther because that is how leopards were referred to in India at the time (even now some people in India use the word panther for all leopards).

The issue is either:
1) How can a leopard have a relatively huge skull that corresponds to the size of a tigress' skull, or
2) Assuming that the big cat was a tiger, how can a tiger be confused for a leopard?

A logical answer that I can think of was that the skull didn't belong to either a regular-coloured tigress or leopard, but a melanistic tigress which Limouzin and the Colonel mistook for a black leopard, because they didn't just see the skull, they saw the big cat before its demise, and they asserted that it was a 'panther', and a regular-coloured tiger is visually different to a regular-coloured leopard, so I don't see how 2 men could mistake a regular tiger for a regular leopard.

Black tiger by James Forbes (1772): http://messybeast.com/genetics/tigers-black.htm

*This image is copyright of its original author


Regular Indochinese tigers in eastern Thailand: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/discovery-of-new-population-of-rare-tiger-in-thailand-gives-hope-for-survival-of-endangered-species-a3501726.html

*This image is copyright of its original author


Male Indochinese leopard in eastern Cambodia: https://news.mongabay.com/2016/08/indochinese-leopard-has-disappeared-from-94-of-its-historical-range/

*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - Shadow - 09-03-2019

(09-02-2019, 09:46 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote:
(09-02-2019, 07:50 PM)chui_ Wrote:
(09-02-2019, 06:14 PM)peter Wrote: POCOCK ON MR. LIMOUZIN'S SKULL

Almost a century ago, a Mr. Limouzin shot a very large leopard in India. At least, he thought it was a leopard. Same for Mr. Prater, a big cat authority who saw the skull. As a result of the unusual size and the doubts expressed by some, the skull was discussed in the JBNHS.

Poster 'Luipaard' recently posted a part of the discussion in the thread 'Size Comparisons'. When I said the skull belonged to a tiger, he wanted to see proof. The reason was he got the informaton on Mr. Limouzin's specimen from an authority who had published on the skull. I posted a paragraph of Pocock's letter to the JBNHS and promised I would scan and post his letter. Here it is.

As not all of us have the time to read his letter, I'll do a summary.

When the skull of the big cat shot by Mr. Limouzin had been found, Mr. Prater published a photograph of the side view (profile) of the skull together with photographs of an Indian leopard, a tiger and a lion. Pocock saw the photograph and quickly concluded the skull belonged to a tiger. This decision was not accepted by Mr. Limouzin and Mr. Prater. Pocock offered to examine the skull. Mr. Limouzin accepted the offer and brought the skull to the Natural History Museum in October 1929, when he returned to England. Pocock had it for a week and again concluded it was the skull of a young adult tigress. Adult in the sense of being sexually mature, but youngish in that the sutures hadn't quite closed. Pocock didn't doubt that age would have added a bit of length and, in particular, width.

In December 1929, he sent a letter to the JBNHS. It has two plates. I'll do another post on the skull in the tiger thread:


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author

Great summary. I would point out, however, with regards to the Congo leopard skull ( the largest leopard skull in the British Natural History Museum) used for comparison was itself that of a youngish adult male. Pocock noted in his 1932 paper, The Leopards of Africa, that this big skull from the Welle River in northern Congo would probably have grown longer and broader even though it was already very muscularly well developed. A few other adult male leopard skulls from scientific sources of similar length are broader by 10-20mm.


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author


The Gabon skull, Pocock was referring to was similar in length to the Congo skull at 11.1" (282mm) but was broader at 7.1+" (181mm). The measurements of that skull and others from that region are in the following table. Note even this skull according to Pocock was also not from a particularly old male (meaning it may have gotten a big bigger as well).


*This image is copyright of its original author



(09-02-2019, 07:09 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: This gives me the impression that the skull belongs to a melanistic tigress which could have been mistaken for a black leopard. After all, as mentioned by @Luipaard, Limouzin asserted that he and Col. W. saw a 'panther', and though the word 'panther' is used in mainstream science to refer to black leopards and jaguars, there have also been allegations of melanistic cougars (see the photo below), at least one melanistic Asiatic lion from Iran, and yes, melanistic tigers. Add to that the mystery of the Australian black panther, or the felid behind the name and history of Singapore (derived from a Sanskrit phrase meaning "Lion City"): if it was a tiger, then how could a Prince from a tiger-containing place like Sumatra, Malaya or Southeast Asia mistake it for a lion, which isn't native to Southeast Asia, as argued by Turnbull?

You seem to be confused by the word panther. That does not mean they were referring to a melanistic leopard as you seem to be thinking. The word panther was commonly used for leopards in general (both normal phase and black) in the early 20th century, especially in India. Often panther was used for big leopards and leopard for small ones - because of the huge variation in size in leopards many early hunters/naturalists believed there were 2 distinct types - a big one and small one. But Pocock simply used the word Panther because that is how leopards were referred to in India at the time (even now some people in India use the word panther for all leopards).

The issue is either:
1) How can a leopard have a relatively huge skull that corresponds to the size of a tigress' skull, or
2) Assuming that the big cat was a tiger, how can a tiger be confused for a leopard?

A logical answer that I can think of was that the skull didn't belong to either a regular-coloured tigress or leopard, but a melanistic tigress which Limouzin and the Colonel mistook for a black leopard, because they didn't just see the skull, they saw the big cat before its demise, and they asserted that it was a 'panther', and a regular-coloured tiger is visually different to a regular-coloured leopard, so I don't see how 2 men could mistake a regular tiger for a regular leopard.

Black tiger by James Forbes (1772): http://messybeast.com/genetics/tigers-black.htm

*This image is copyright of its original author


Regular Indochinese tigers in eastern Thailand: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/discovery-of-new-population-of-rare-tiger-in-thailand-gives-hope-for-survival-of-endangered-species-a3501726.html

*This image is copyright of its original author


Male Indochinese leopard in eastern Cambodia: https://news.mongabay.com/2016/08/indochinese-leopard-has-disappeared-from-94-of-its-historical-range/

*This image is copyright of its original author

That shooting is told to have happened in dusk and in a quick situation. Seeing only a glimpse of that animal and even though wounded, animal was able to flee. And found some days later in decomposed state and vultures and jackals already eaten a lot of it. Not much skin left. There had been earlier a sighting of a panther which was described to be a big one. So it looks like, that there was a good chance to make a mistake in identification of that animal when shooting it and again when finally finding the carcass.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - peter - 09-03-2019

(09-02-2019, 09:46 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote:
(09-02-2019, 07:50 PM)chui_ Wrote:
(09-02-2019, 06:14 PM)peter Wrote: POCOCK ON MR. LIMOUZIN'S SKULL

Almost a century ago, a Mr. Limouzin shot a very large leopard in India. At least, he thought it was a leopard. Same for Mr. Prater, a big cat authority who saw the skull. As a result of the unusual size and the doubts expressed by some, the skull was discussed in the JBNHS.

Poster 'Luipaard' recently posted a part of the discussion in the thread 'Size Comparisons'. When I said the skull belonged to a tiger, he wanted to see proof. The reason was he got the informaton on Mr. Limouzin's specimen from an authority who had published on the skull. I posted a paragraph of Pocock's letter to the JBNHS and promised I would scan and post his letter. Here it is.

As not all of us have the time to read his letter, I'll do a summary.

When the skull of the big cat shot by Mr. Limouzin had been found, Mr. Prater published a photograph of the side view (profile) of the skull together with photographs of an Indian leopard, a tiger and a lion. Pocock saw the photograph and quickly concluded the skull belonged to a tiger. This decision was not accepted by Mr. Limouzin and Mr. Prater. Pocock offered to examine the skull. Mr. Limouzin accepted the offer and brought the skull to the Natural History Museum in October 1929, when he returned to England. Pocock had it for a week and again concluded it was the skull of a young adult tigress. Adult in the sense of being sexually mature, but youngish in that the sutures hadn't quite closed. Pocock didn't doubt that age would have added a bit of length and, in particular, width.

In December 1929, he sent a letter to the JBNHS. It has two plates. I'll do another post on the skull in the tiger thread:


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author

Great summary. I would point out, however, with regards to the Congo leopard skull ( the largest leopard skull in the British Natural History Museum) used for comparison was itself that of a youngish adult male. Pocock noted in his 1932 paper, The Leopards of Africa, that this big skull from the Welle River in northern Congo would probably have grown longer and broader even though it was already very muscularly well developed. A few other adult male leopard skulls from scientific sources of similar length are broader by 10-20mm.


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author


The Gabon skull, Pocock was referring to was similar in length to the Congo skull at 11.1" (282mm) but was broader at 7.1+" (181mm). The measurements of that skull and others from that region are in the following table. Note even this skull according to Pocock was also not from a particularly old male (meaning it may have gotten a big bigger as well).


*This image is copyright of its original author



(09-02-2019, 07:09 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: This gives me the impression that the skull belongs to a melanistic tigress which could have been mistaken for a black leopard. After all, as mentioned by @Luipaard, Limouzin asserted that he and Col. W. saw a 'panther', and though the word 'panther' is used in mainstream science to refer to black leopards and jaguars, there have also been allegations of melanistic cougars (see the photo below), at least one melanistic Asiatic lion from Iran, and yes, melanistic tigers. Add to that the mystery of the Australian black panther, or the felid behind the name and history of Singapore (derived from a Sanskrit phrase meaning "Lion City"): if it was a tiger, then how could a Prince from a tiger-containing place like Sumatra, Malaya or Southeast Asia mistake it for a lion, which isn't native to Southeast Asia, as argued by Turnbull?

You seem to be confused by the word panther. That does not mean they were referring to a melanistic leopard as you seem to be thinking. The word panther was commonly used for leopards in general (both normal phase and black) in the early 20th century, especially in India. Often panther was used for big leopards and leopard for small ones - because of the huge variation in size in leopards many early hunters/naturalists believed there were 2 distinct types - a big one and small one. But Pocock simply used the word Panther because that is how leopards were referred to in India at the time (even now some people in India use the word panther for all leopards).

The issue is either:
1) How can a leopard have a relatively huge skull that corresponds to the size of a tigress' skull, or
2) Assuming that the big cat was a tiger, how can a tiger be confused for a leopard?

A logical answer that I can think of was that the skull didn't belong to either a regular-coloured tigress or leopard, but a melanistic tigress which Limouzin and the Colonel mistook for a black leopard, because they didn't just see the skull, they saw the big cat before its demise, and they asserted that it was a 'panther', and a regular-coloured tiger is visually different to a regular-coloured leopard, so I don't see how 2 men could mistake a regular tiger for a regular leopard.

Black tiger by James Forbes (1772): http://messybeast.com/genetics/tigers-black.htm

*This image is copyright of its original author


Regular Indochinese tigers in eastern Thailand: https://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/discovery-of-new-population-of-rare-tiger-in-thailand-gives-hope-for-survival-of-endangered-species-a3501726.html

*This image is copyright of its original author


Male Indochinese leopard in eastern Cambodia: https://news.mongabay.com/2016/08/indochinese-leopard-has-disappeared-from-94-of-its-historical-range/

*This image is copyright of its original author


1 - SIZE AS A DISCRIMINATING FACTOR IN DISTINGUISHING BETWEEN TIGERS AND LEOPARDS

At the level of averages, there is a very clear distinction between adult male Indian leopards and adult female Indian tigresses. At the level of individuals, however, it can be very different. The reason is individual variation is quite pronounced in both big cat species.
 
1a - Total length

Large male leopards in India and Shri Lanka can reach a total length of 7.6-7.11 'between pegs', maybe a bit more. Small adult tigresses can be similar in total length, meaning the difference in length between a large male leopard and a small tigress can be very limited. It can´t be excluded that a long male leopard could be a bit longer than a short tigress.

1b - Weight

The range in adult Indian tigresses is 90-170 kg. roughly. The minimum is a bit suspect, as I read reliable reports about very old or incapacitated tigresses (both in India and Nepal) well below average (less than 200 pounds or 90,72 kg.). The range in male Indian leopards is 40-85 kg., but it can't be excluded that a very large male could reach 200 pounds (90,72 kg.) in his prime. 

1c - Skull size

Large male leopards in India can have a skull with a greatest total length of about 10 inches, maybe a bit more. In small adult Indian tigresses, the greatest total length of the skull can be 11 inches or a bit less. Skulls of adult Indian tigresses often are more robust and wider, but the range is considerable. I've seen large skulls of adult wild male Sumatran tigers dwarfing small skulls of adult wild male Indian tigers. This although wild male Indian tigers seriously outaverage wild male Sumatran tigers.       

1d - Conclusion

All in all, one could conclude that the difference in size between large male leopards and small tigresses can be close to zilch and be very close. In the tiger thread, I did a post on what could have been a hybryd between a large male Indian leopard and a small Indian tigress. 

Size, therefore, isn't a discriminating factor per se. That is to say, not at the level of individuals. That leaves the skin and the skull.

2 - SKIN

Leopard have spots, whereas tigers have stripes. In broad daylight, the difference is as clear as it gets. In dusk, however, colours and markings (stripes and spots) often completely disappear. Even experienced hunters wrote they were unable to distinguish between (large male) leopards and (small) tigresses.

3 - THE ABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN SKULLS OF BIG CATS 

I agree with your (referring to Bornean Tiger) remark on big cat authorities and the ability to distinguish between skulls of tigers and leopards. Reality, however, says even experienced hunters and naturalists have been involved in quite serious mistakes in the skull department. Read the JBNHS and other journals for confirmation. Mr. Limouzin and Mr. Prater are examples, but there are many.

Same for biologists employed by natural history museums today. Over the years, I visited a number of natural history museums in northwestern and southern Europe to measure skulls. Every now and then, but not very seldom, I saw things difficult to understand. One, quite extreme, example: I saw a skull of a man-eating African lioness that turned out to be the skull of a polar bear (...). Most unfortunately, the list is quite long.

In every case, I informed the conservator. My opinion was dismissed time and again. The reason was that those involved in determining skulls had graduated in Biology, whereas I graduated in Geography.    

Poster Luipaard was informed about the skull of Mr. Limouzin by a man who could be regarded as an authority in the department of leopard skulls. If correct, he even published about the skull. Most unfortunately, he assumed it was the skull of a leopard.  

In the old days, documents were reviewed by peers before they were published. Today, things are a bit different. Most unfortunately, humans and mistakes are good friends. Always have been and always will be. I wouldn´t worry about it.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - Luipaard - 09-04-2019

@peter You are aware of my source and I have recently received a reply of my source, regarding your post of the 'record panther'/tigress skull. I have no time to type everything like I did previously so I'll just post it:


*This image is copyright of its original author


I'll also share his opinion becouse I wanted to know what he thought of all of this:

Quote:By the way the criteria (characteristics) used by Pocock can be seen in leopards as well, not often but still - with other words the skull should be re-examined.
Still could be a tiger who knows , but yet those arguments are at least inconclusive

There is a trick - there are skulls (I have seen some ) of big cats which even to have them in your hands one cannot say what this is - we used DNA to figure out for some - it is all question of the rate of growth and development between the different parts of the skull

With other words, will we be 100% sure which species it was in the end? I'm not that knowledgeable enough to make such a statement.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - BorneanTiger - 09-04-2019

(09-04-2019, 12:04 AM)Luipaard Wrote: @peter You are aware of my source and I have recently received a reply of my source, regarding your post of the 'record panther'/tigress skull. I have no time to type everything like I did previously so I'll just post it:


*This image is copyright of its original author


I'll also share his opinion becouse I wanted to know what he thought of all of this:

Quote:By the way the criteria (characteristics) used by Pocock can be seen in leopards as well, not often but still - with other words the skull should be re-examined.
Still could be a tiger who knows , but yet those arguments are at least inconclusive

There is a trick - there are skulls (I have seen some ) of big cats which even to have them in your hands one cannot say what this is - we used DNA to figure out for some - it is all question of the rate of growth and development between the different parts of the skull

With other words, will we be 100% sure which species it was in the end? I'm not that knowledgeable enough to make such a statement.

So the skin was observed by Mr Limouzin after all. This strengthens my confidence that the big cat wasn't a regular-colored tigress with an orange fur and stripes, or a regular leopard with a yellow fur and rosettes, but a black tigress which could be mistaken for a black leopard:

Black tiger by James Forbes (1772):

*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - chui_ - 09-07-2019

Barbary leopards – ie the leopards of North Africa (Morocco, Northern Algeria, and Tunisia)

Leopard in the Meknes zoo, Morocco 1947.

*This image is copyright of its original author


 As there was some discussion on Barbary leopards a few pages ago on this thread as well as on page 7 of the Sri Lankan leopard thread I wanted to contribute a little to that topic with a summary of all the info I have which some may find helpful.
 
Firstly, Alfred Edward Pease’s account of North African leopards definitely needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Although, the leopards he saw in North Africa may certainly have been bigger than those he saw elsewhere his overall description comes off as overly sensationalized and exaggerated. Also, it should be pointed out that his use of the word panther does not mean he was referring to melanisitic/black leopards as some seem to be thinking. As I stated in an earlier post the word panther was interchangeable with leopard in the 19th century and early 20th century (like cougar, puma and mountain lion). Many early hunters also insisted (as Pease does in that excerpt) that there are 2 distinct varieties of the leopard, one big and more lion like and the other smaller and more cat like. Often early hunters referred to what they considered the big variety as panthers and those which were small as leopards – this had nothing to do with whether they were melanistic or normal phase. With increasing scientific understanding it became better known the difference was simply due to particularly pronounced sexual dimorphism in the species along with geographic variation. Also note that most of North Africa was under French colonial rule and the leopard is called panthere in French. The fact Pease described the leopards of North Africa as “dark panthers” most probably reflects their adaptation to mountain forests of North Africa – according to Pocock African leopards exhibit 4 general colour variations – pale colour in arid areas, a more yellowish/tawny colour in the savanna, a darker dull colour in lowland forests, and lastly a very dark dusky colour in high mountains. Barbary leopards probably varied in colour depending on location, those from the more arid steppe lands closer to the Sahara desert being more light coloured.
 
With that being said, we can look at some more reliable info on the size of these leopards which may be of some interest, although the data is very limited. The best piece of information I have are the measurements of a museum skull from Algeria which is held at the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences and was part of the dataset used by Van Neer for his 2013 paper, "A leopard in the Predynastic Elite Cemetery HK6 at Hierakonpolis, Egypt". This skull measures 245mm in greatest length and 148mm in zygomatic width. It’s not clear whether this specimen was fully mature but regardless these measurements would put it above the average of around 235mm for adult male leopard skulls from places like Kenya or India. For general reference a leopard skull can be considered big at 250mm, huge at 270mm, and exceptional beyond 285mm. So nothing too extraordinary but still above average for the species.
 
The Mammals of Algeria, 1991 by Kowalski, states that a leopard killed in Merad, Algeria in 1918 measured 250cm in total length and weighed over 80kg. These measurements were apparently reported by French zoologist and parasitologist LG Seurat who had dissected and studied this specimen for parasites – so this would be more than just a hunting record. If reliable, I suspect the length was probably measured over curves as opposed to between pegs.
 
Some info on North African leopards is also provided by RI Pocock in his 1932 paper, “The leopards of Africa” and also the Spanish zoologist Angel Cabrera, in his 1932 book, “Los Mamiferos de Marruecos”. Based on information provided by earlier French naturalists, Pocock gives the head and body length of an unsexed Moroccon leopard as 4 feet 4 inches (132cm) with a total length of 7 feet 2 inches and another described as an old male as 4 feet 3 inches (130cm) with a total length of 6 feet 9 inches (described as having a very short tail). Cabrera states an old male was measured at 221cm (7 feet 3 inches) but it’s not clear if he was referring to the same old male as Pocock because they both list the same source (ie Cuvier). Pocock also provides the skull measurements for a captive adult female Algerian leopard as 208mm in greatest length which would be very large for a female leopard. Cabrera reports an additional male leopard skull from Morocco with a basal length of 207mm which would indicate a total length for that skull of around 240-250mm.
 
Interestingly, both Pocock and Cabrera seem to have accepted the North African leopard as being very large, in fact among the very largest. The fact they did so despite not having much first hand data on these leopards is interesting – Pocock especially had studied considerable material on leopards from various other regions and most of his conclusions were based on more conclusive data. I suspect they may have been convinced by the observations of certain naturalists/hunters who had seen these leopards in the field. Cabrera for example quotes the explorer Harry Johnston who had stated in his book: "The leopard still lingers here, in western Algeria and Morocco. Those I have seen, dead or stuffed, in Morocco-Algeria, struck me as being exceptionally large, compared to the two or three varieties seen in India, Malaysia, and tropical Africa. Rosettes are larger, more jaguar like, and some of the males attain the dimensions of a large jaguar ". Unlike Alfred Pease’s account, Harry Johnston’s writing is not sensationalized and he appears to be a more reliable source with a good scientific understanding of natural history and also animal anatomy. He also had firsthand experience with wildlife in different parts of Africa, Asia, as well as South America. Unfortunately, however, he provides no details on measurements of any big cats. (BTW before someone gets carried away that these leopards were equal to the biggest jaguars or conversely someone complains how dare any leopard be compared to big jaguars understand that Johnston probably didn’t have experience with the Pantanal jaguars specifically and he was probably thinking of more typical Amazon jaguars from the coastal areas of South America he would have visited).

Excerpt about North African leopards from Harry Johnston's book, The Story of My Life 1923.

*This image is copyright of its original author

 
Apart from the above, some info and a lot of old photos of North African leopards were posted on this Spanish forum: https://www.ellinceiberico.com/foro/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5578. One of the photos from there of a leopard killed in Meknes Morocco in 1968 was already shared on page 9 of this thread – according to the press article it was from, the length of this leopard was reported as 2.25m with a weight of 70kg – judging from the photo this appears believable.
 
Additional weights for North African leopards are provided in this 1957 article from a Spanish hunting magazine, "Caza y Pesca". The caption for the top photograph says the weight was 70kg for that leopard killed in Zale, Morocco in 1957. For the leopard in the bottom photograph killed in Ketama Morocco 1955 the figures given in the caption are more extreme - 95kg and 2.5m long. Of course, measurements from hunters are always suspicious – and although the leopard in the bottom photo appears to be an adult male there’s no way to gauge its size with nothing in the photo for reference.


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author

 
Regardless of any alleged weights, the best material we have available for these leopards are photographs – thanks to a few interested folk a decent number of photographs of Algerian and Moroccan leopards have been gathered. Around 15 photographs appear to show what are probably adult males and most of them look like good sized leopards. Some, like the following appear to be very large leopards, and IMO add credibility to the idea that these leopards may have been particularly large. My own opinion is that Barbary leopards were probably similar in size and appearance to Persian and/or East African mountain leopards, living in a similarly mountainous habitat and hunting similar prey.
 
Some photos of Barbary leopards seem to show very large specimens:
 
From Morocco, 1930s.

*This image is copyright of its original author

 
From Algeria.

*This image is copyright of its original author


 
Another one from Morocco.

*This image is copyright of its original author

 
As per the status of these leopards. Things don’t look too good and it’s doubtful there are any Barbary leopards left in the wild, or in captivity for that matter. The last evidence of these leopards appears to be from 2007 in Figuig, southern Morocco - described as a “probable observation” in The Mammals of Africa 2013. Apparently the area this was in, at the Morocco/Algeria border, is a restricted military zone and is therefore not accessible for ecological surveys. However, the fact it is restricted may have helped maintain prey populations by preventing poaching – but we can only speculate.
 
The demise of these leopards is really unfortunate and especially disappointing for 2 reasons. First, despite the fact the leopard was clearly present in North Africa much later than the lion it received very little attention compared to the lion. Rather than focusing so much on finding lions with possible Barbary lineage in captivity and trying to breed them, it would’ve made a lot more sense to try and save the few Barbary leopards which were still hanging on in the wild. Secondly, I think the classification of all African leopards into a single subspecies really doomed them in the end. If they had still been recognized as a distinct subspecies they would’ve received more attention as an endangered population as have Amur and Arabian leopards but instead because the African leopard as a whole was not endangered, no one seems to have cared what happened to this leopard population. Of course, the classifications which decided all this were not conclusive and are now being questioned – the unique status of Amur leopards no longer appears to be recognized and recent genetic studies suggest that the difference between different African leopard populations is equal or greater than that between Arabian and Persian leopards.
 
One of the last to be photographed in Morocco, 1955.

*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - Lycaon - 09-08-2019

Not sure if it fits here . but anyway this leopard in a tunisian looks like a barbary.


*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - Luipaard - 09-09-2019

Another photograph of a Barbary leopard. I think it's best to ignore said description regarding length, especially since this is a female leopard.


*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - peter - 09-10-2019

SKULLS OF MALE LEOPARDS IN THE STAATLICHES MUSEUM FüR NATURKUNDE STUTTGART

a - Introduction

A few weeks ago, in the thread 'Size Comparisons', I posted information on a number of male leopard skulls I had measured in the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart in 2012. The skulls were from what used to be German East Africa (now, largely, Tanzania). In that post, I said the Staatliches Museum also had leopard skulls from other regions. Poster 'Chui' asked me to post a bit more on these skulls in particular.

Last week, I was busy. Yesterday and today, I had time. I decided for a table with measurements, as this would result in a kind of overview. I added a few photographs in order to enable you to see the differences between skulls from different regions.

b - Remarks on the table

The table, an original for Wildfact, has measurements of 24 male leopard skulls. Skulls 01-11 were collected in the former German East Africa (Tanzania). Skulls 12-22 were collected in other regions. Skulls 01-22 are from wild male leopards. Skulls 23 and 24 are from male zoo leopards. As they're very similar to the skulls collected in the former German East Africa (skulls 01-11), the owners most probably were descendents from Tanzanian leopards.

Directly below the table, I added a bit of information on the skulls. In order to prevent questions, I'll explain what was measured. 

WEI (weight in kg.)
HEI  (height at the orbit in cm.)
GTL, CBL, ZYG, MAX, PM4 and UCL (measurements in mm.)

UCL - upper canine length in a straight line from the insertion to the tip
MAX - maxillary width 

c - Labels

Nearly all big cat skulls in natural history museums have labels. Some are informative, but others have no information. Those in the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart, as far as I know (Dr. Mörike agreed), have no errors, but some labels were all but empty. The label of skull 16 is one. 

I thought the skull was from a male leopard shot in a rain forest somewhere in central Africa, as it was very similar to other skulls from this region. Dr. Mörike agreed. She said skulls of male leopards shot in tropical rain forests in Africa are large as a general rule. The choana usually is narrow and shallow. This is typical of leopards shot in tropical rain forests.

d - Table

Here´s the table. All in all, it took me about 2 days to do it. As far as I know, it has no errors. If you, however, see something suspicious, let me know. Apart from the height (HEI) of the skull at the orbit (in cm.), all measurements are in mm. The weight (WEI) of the skull is expressed in kg.  


*This image is copyright of its original author

For comparison, I added Chui´s table. His table has measurements of skulls of exceptional male leopards. As you can see, the differences are pronounced. One reason is leopards have subspecies. A second is individual variation, especially in adult males, is well developed. 

Although Indian tigresses have wider and more robust skulls (at the level of averages), skulls of exceptional male leopards can be almost as long as skulls of small tigresses. Skulls of exceptional male leopards from central and southern parts of Africa and Iran are about as long as skulls of small Indian tigresses:  


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

e - Photographs

The 5 skulls below are among the largest (see the table above). As a result of a lack of time, we were only able to do profile photographs. We tried to do it from the same angle and distance, but didn't quite succeed. All photographs were taken by poster Wanderfalke, who assisted when he had time.  

The leopard skulls I saw suggest the differences between different regions could be structural. When watching the photographs, focus on lines, general shape and the relative size of the face. Let me know what you see.   

Skull 10 - Tanzania (217,83 x 134,80 mm - 0,416 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Skull 12 - India (227,36 x 143,01 mm - 0,498 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author
     

Skull 13 - Iran (233,34 x 145,81 mm - 0,490 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Skull 16 - Central Africa (243,98 x 149,51 mm - 0,585 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

Skull 19 - Java (211,50 x 131,75 mm - 0,400 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author



RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - epaiva - 09-10-2019

(09-10-2019, 07:16 AM)peter Wrote: SKULLS OF MALE LEOPARDS IN THE STAATLICHES MUSEUM FüR NATURKUNDE STUTTGART

a - Introduction

A few weeks ago, in the thread 'Size Comparisons', I posted information on a number of male leopard skulls I had measured in the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart in 2012. The skulls were from what used to be German East Africa (now, largely, Tanzania). In that post, I said the Staatliches Museum also had leopard skulls from other regions. Poster 'Chui' asked me to post a bit more on these skulls in particular.

Last week, I was busy. Yesterday and today, I had time. I decided for a table with measurements, as this would result in a kind of overview. I added a few photographs in order to enable you to see the differences between skulls from different regions.

b - Remarks on the table

The table, an original for Wildfact, has measurements of 24 male leopard skulls. Skulls 01-11 were collected in the former German East Africa (Tanzania). Skulls 12-22 were collected in other regions. Skulls 01-22 are from wild male leopards. Skulls 23 and 24 are from male zoo leopards. As they're very similar to the skulls collected in the former German East Africa (skulls 01-11), the owners most probably were descendents from Tanzanian leopards.

Directly below the table, I added a bit of information on the skulls. In order to prevent questions, I'll explain what was measured. 

WEI (weight in kg.)
HEI  (height at the orbit in cm.)
GTL, CBL, ZYG, MAX, PM4 and UCL (measurements in mm.)

UCL - upper canine length in a straight line from the insertion to the tip
MAX - maxillary width 

c - Labels

Nearly all big cat skulls in natural history museums have labels. Some are informative, but others have no information. Those in the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde in Stuttgart, as far as I know (Dr. Mörike agreed), have no errors, but some labels were all but empty. The label of skull 16 is one. 

I thought the skull was from a male leopard shot in a rain forest somewhere in central Africa, as it was very similar to other skulls from this region. Dr. Mörike agreed. She said skulls of male leopards shot in tropical rain forests in Africa are large as a general rule. The choana usually is narrow and shallow. This is typical of leopards shot in tropical rain forests.

d - Table

Here´s the table. All in all, it took me about 2 days to do it. As far as I know, it has no errors. If you, however, see something suspicious, let me know. Apart from the height (HEI) of the skull at the orbit (in cm.), all measurements are in mm. The weight (WEI) of the skull is expressed in kg.  


*This image is copyright of its original author

For comparison, I added Chui´s table. His table has measurements of skulls of exceptional male leopards. As you can see, the differences are pronounced. One reason is leopards have subspecies. A second is individual variation, especially in adult males, is well developed. 

Although Indian tigresses have wider and more robust skulls (at the level of averages), skulls of exceptional male leopards can be almost as long as skulls of small tigresses. Skulls of exceptional male leopards from central and southern parts of Africa and Iran are about as long as skulls of small Indian tigresses:  


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

e - Photographs

The 5 skulls below are among the largest (see the table above). As a result of a lack of time, we were only able to do profile photographs. We tried to do it from the same angle and distance, but didn't quite succeed. All photographs were taken by poster Wanderfalke, who assisted when he had time.  

The leopard skulls I saw suggest the differences between different regions could be structural. When watching the photographs, focus on lines, general shape and the relative size of the face. Let me know what you see.   

Skull 10 - Tanzania (217,83 x 134,80 mm - 0,416 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Skull 12 - India (227,36 x 143,01 mm - 0,498 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author
     

Skull 13 - Iran (233,34 x 145,81 mm - 0,490 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Skull 16 - Central Africa (243,98 x 149,51 mm - 0,585 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

Skull 19 - Java (211,50 x 131,75 mm - 0,400 kg):


*This image is copyright of its original author
@peter
Thanks for sharing valuable information of measurements of Leopard skulls from different regions.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - BorneanTiger - 09-11-2019

When talking about the genetics of lions and leopards in another thread, @chui_ had posted a genetic study on leopards which makes it appear that African leopards aren't a single subspecies, and it dates to 2017, the same year that the Cat Specialist Group published a revision of subspecies of felids, in which they treated African leopards as a single subspecies, amongst others, so I made this new thread to detail all the genetic / taxonomic 'headaches' for the CSG: https://wildfact.com/forum/newthread.php?fid=111


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - Luipaard - 09-12-2019

@peter Interestingly, the largest of all the skulls you've measured is one from Central Africa. That's not a coincidence as you have told me that these particular leopards in general have a larger and more robust skull. But when I look at the measurements, I suspect it to have been a rather smallish or young male when looking at the following measurements:


*This image is copyright of its original author

As you can see, the average size for 7 adult males in this case is 261 x 160 mm and for young adult males 237 x 140 mm. The skull you have measured (243,98 x 149,51 mm) overlaps with young and full grown males, indicating it must have been a rather small one or not full grown yet. And except for the Central African skull and the Persian one, no other skull manages to rival the smallest of the adults in the list above, let alone the average.

The sample is small of course but it's interesting to see nonetheless. And of course like you said; individual variation, especially in adult males, is well developed.


RE: ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - D - THE LEOPARD (Panthera pardus) - Styx38 - 09-22-2019

Leopard kills large horse in Libya



*This image is copyright of its original author



Hufnagel E. 1972. Cats (Felidae). In: Libyan mammals. The Oleander Press; p 41-44. 

http://www.catsg.org/cheetah/05_library/5_3_publications/H/Hufnagel_1972_Cats_of_Libya.pdf


The source mentions that a horse was suspected to be killed by Leopard rather than a Cheetah, even though there were no Leopards recorded in Libya.

The Leopard was stated to be protected in Morocco in the source, which was published as recently as 1972.

Wonder why there is not too much information as of recent for Moroccan Leopards? 

Also, could there have been a vagrant Leopard at the time to have made it to a town in Northern Libya?

 I am not sure a Cheetah is capable of killing a large horse, which are usually between 1000-2000 pounds, or even rivaling 2000 pounds.

Any guesses?