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Comparing Cats: A Discussion of Similarities & Differences

Australia LandSeaLion Offline
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From the perspective of an outsider…it really does look like you all agree with each other more than you disagree, and a lot of the argument has been over semantics (I think Luipaard keeps using the phrase “completely overlap” when they actually mean to say “have a clear overlap”?)

Leopard and jaguar skulls are different. But they aren’t different to the extent of this first drawing (which after all isn’t really a scientific drawing, but an exaggeration meant to showcase the jaguar’s generally broader skull - on the same page, the quoted bite force of the leopard relative to its body size is not actually a great deal smaller than the jaguar’s, 6.7x vs 7.1x):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Is that a reasonable summary?
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Canada Balam Offline
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@tigerluver I have a big problem with the claim that they "completely overlap in size" and I don't think it's fair to brush it to the side because that is verifiably false and a clear attempt at misrepresenting data to spread a false notion. In terms of skull sizes, I could make the argument that individual jaguar skulls attain similar dimensions to certain mainland tigers and lion skulls, but that doesn't mean there is a "complete overlap". That entire point was even odd to bring up because size differences have nothing to do with proportions in craniometric values, the other person clearly has no understanding of what is being discussed here to begin with. 

But to clean it up, I will use only publicized data from single studies:

  • The largest leopard skulls come from Persian leopards: ML 245 mm, ZW 162 mm
The largest population of leopards is similar in size to the one of the smallest jaguar populations on average:

  • Central American jaguar skulls: ML 244 mm, ZW 166.4 mm

Despite being 1 mm shorter these jaguars have a wider zygoma by a greater margin, what does this say about the ratios in skull proportions?
The overlapping on averages ends there because medium to large-sized jaguars far surpassed this on average as well:
  • Amazon ML 263 mm, ZW 176 mm (7.5% larger ML, 8.3% larger ZW)
  • Llanos ML 290 mm, ZW 194 mm (17% larger ML, 18% larger ZW)
  • Pantanal ML 291 mm, ZW 194 mm (17% larger ML, 18% larger ZW)



If we understand averages from a statistical point of view as a good measure to gauge how often a species will surpass a certain size threshold with regularity and which one likely possesses the greater sizes on averages as well, then there is no doubt that most populations of jaguars greatly surpass leopards in this regard. Any overlap that one might find between individual specimens is pointless when looked at from a bigger and more complete picture. The fact that the largest population of leopards was the sole one used to illustrate this point is also important to highlight as smaller populations will have smaller average values, hence making the gap between them and jaguars even greater.

Largest skulls (different specimens, largest dimensions):
  • Leopard ML 288 mm, ZW 191 mm
  • Jaguar ML 324 mm, ZW 223 mm


Jaguar 12% larger ML at maximums, 16% larger at ZW at maximums.

The gap between the largest jaguars and largest leopard in skull size is similar to the one between jaguars and tigers:
  • Indochinese tiger ML 329 mm, ZW 223 mm (13% larger ML, 16% lager ZW)
  • Bengal tiger ML 353. 4 mm, data on ZW from the same source lacking (20% larger)
  • Caspian tiger ML 339 mm, data on ZW from the same source lacking (16% larger)



Largest skulls:
  • Indochinese tiger ML 365 mm, ZW 247.4 (12% larger ML, 10 % larger ZW)
  • Bengal tiger ML 378 mm (15% larger)
  • Caspian tiger ML 369 mm (13% larger)



Primary sources used here are Mazak et al., Farhadina et al., Hoogesteinj et al. What this shows is that the graph posted above was completely misunderstood to try to paint a false picture that was flattering for leopards. When looking at the general size variations in averages and maximum dimensions jaguars dwarf leopards in a similar fashion to tigers do jaguars, with the smallest tiger populations (Sunda and Sundarbans) overlapping in size with the largest extant jaguar populations, much like the largest leopard populations overlap in size with the smallest jaguar populations.

The study you posted is a perfect example of craniometric differences between both species with opposite results, meaning they show the least similar ratios. Jaguars and tigers aligned more in this regard particularly in P3 dimensions, M1, and condylobasal length than they do with leopards.
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Canada Balam Offline
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(06-29-2021, 05:02 AM)LandSeaLion Wrote: From the perspective of an outsider…it really does look like you all agree with each other more than you disagree, and a lot of the argument has been over semantics (I think Luipaard keeps using the phrase “completely overlap” when they actually mean to say “have a clear overlap”?)

Leopard and jaguar skulls are different. But they aren’t different to the extent of this first drawing (which after all isn’t really a scientific drawing, but an exaggeration meant to showcase the jaguar’s generally broader skull - on the same page, the quoted bite force of the leopard relative to its body size is not actually a great deal smaller than the jaguar’s, 6.7x vs 7.1x):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Is that a reasonable summary?

Mauricio Anton is a paleoartist with an extensive background in the skeletal anatomy of felids, the graph shown in his book is not an "exaggeration" considering the rations in length/width between both species really is that drastic. If you disagree with that, once again show scientific data pointing towards the contrary as the burden of proof falls on the one discrediting the work of another person who happens to be an expert in that regard.
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Australia LandSeaLion Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-29-2021, 05:53 AM by LandSeaLion )

(06-29-2021, 05:30 AM)Balam Wrote:
(06-29-2021, 05:02 AM)LandSeaLion Wrote: From the perspective of an outsider…it really does look like you all agree with each other more than you disagree, and a lot of the argument has been over semantics (I think Luipaard keeps using the phrase “completely overlap” when they actually mean to say “have a clear overlap”?)

Leopard and jaguar skulls are different. But they aren’t different to the extent of this first drawing (which after all isn’t really a scientific drawing, but an exaggeration meant to showcase the jaguar’s generally broader skull - on the same page, the quoted bite force of the leopard relative to its body size is not actually a great deal smaller than the jaguar’s, 6.7x vs 7.1x):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Is that a reasonable summary?

Mauricio Anton is a paleoartist with an extensive background in the skeletal anatomy of felids, the graph shown in his book is not an "exaggeration" considering the rations in length/width between both species really is that drastic. If you disagree with that, once again show scientific data pointing towards the contrary as the burden of proof falls on the one discrediting the work of another person who happens to be an expert in that regard.

I think you’re misunderstanding me. I am not accusing the artist of making a mistake or discrediting him…I think the difference as drawn is intentionally exaggerated/simplified, to emphasise the difference. That really is all I meant. 
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Rishi Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-29-2021, 06:42 AM by Rishi )

(06-28-2021, 10:08 PM)Balam Wrote: @Rishi he's repeatedly using the term "completely" which is completely false. While it's true that the smallest populations of jaguars overlap in dimensions with the largest populations of leopards in the skull or weight department, the overlap is still not total as the largest Mexican jaguar skull has a wider breadth than the largest leopard skull, despite being tied in length, hence having a greater overall score. This disparity becomes even larger when counting on South American populations, and of those not just the Pantanal. The largest skull on SCI records actually belongs to a Chacoan specimen.
(06-28-2021, 11:15 PM)Luipaard Wrote: Pretty much yes. I simply disagree with the claim of jaguar skulls being completely different to leopard skulls especially since this claim is nothing more than an opinion but stated like it's a fact. Never have I ever said that the largest leopard skulls are equal in size to the largest jaguar skulls. Isn't it obvious that they overlap in dimensions and overall size? I've posted scientific data to back this up plus added photographs which clearly shows how similar they can be. This isn't a rhino skull we're comparing to a giraffe's; we're comparing two skulls from the same genus who too overlap in body size. If they overlap in body size, they certainly will overlap in skull dimensions too.

I'm not trying to win this debate/argument FYI. I think Balam and I are black and white and we're looking for the grey part to settle this. I think it would be good if more members would chime in.

At this point I would normally end the discussion asking both of you to agree to disagree.... But reading the aboves, I am SO confused what you two are arguing about!

Seems like misinterpreted wordings to me. Just let go of each other throats please.

(06-29-2021, 05:02 AM)LandSeaLion Wrote: From the perspective of an outsider…it really does look like you all agree with each other more than you disagree, and a lot of the argument has been over semantics (I think Luipaard keeps using the phrase “completely overlap” when they actually mean to say “have a clear overlap”?)

Yes. This.
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You’ve always wondered what would happen if a jaguar (Panthera onca) and a puma (Puma concolor) crossed their path, as they share the same environnement in certain country like Costa Rica?! Will they fight or just hang out together? Can they be friends? Well here you have it!

Or should I say, we’ve recreated the scene for you! Indeed the video you’ve just watched is most likely impossible in real life as these big cats will never tolerate each other and the jaguar would have kicked out the puma immediatly! We edited this video so you can appreciate the morphologic difference between this two species and we used footages taken on the exact same spot a few days apart!

Just to be clear, I will not reveal the exact location, just keep in mind it is occuring on the Osa Peninsula - Costa Rica
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Brazil Dark Jaguar Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-29-2021, 01:59 PM by Dark Jaguar )

ABOUT THE CAATINGA JAGUARS


Since Caatinga Jags population sizes was mentioned as well as the individual who starved to death I shall drop the biomass infos in the population from Serra da Capivara (PI) Brazil for the readers to know it .



Pantanal and Caatinga connections.

Brazil is a massive country and Pantanal and Caatinga biomes have no proximity to one another, one biome is located in Midwest Brazil and the other in Northeast Brazil, The Cerrado being the second largest biome in the country only after the Amazon as it is located in Central Brazil the Cerrado connects to all other biomes in Brazil except Pampas which is located in the far south (and its jags are currently extinct), So Caatinga and Pantanal have no connection.



As other species of big cats that adapts to certain environments (humid, hot, cold, wet...) The Caatinga jaguars are specially adapted for the Caatinga biome and I like them alot, as some already know they got some very interesting traits such as stiffer/harder whiskas, their paw pads are rougher, flat and with more fur (furry) on the paw pads for protection to the soil as although in Caatinga there's naturally forests in some places have a more exposed ground/soil which is very hot like the temperature as well as the dense and thorny vegetation so the jaguar also adapted for their bodies to withstand more days without food and water than in other biomes because they gotta be durable to the heat, to the little water availability, to the food they got which sometimes in some regions are scarce to find. So all they need is a small body and as Cláudia the field Biologist of Caatinga jags/pumas at Boqueirão da Onça National Park (BA) says ''If you bring a Pantanal jaguar to Caatinga it will die, it wouldn't survive in our woods but the Caatinga vegetation is also considered as a forest.''



Caatinga jags from Serra da Capivara mean prey size.

From: What are jaguars eating in a half-empty forest? Insights from diet in an overhunted Caatinga reserve

By: Everton B. P. Miranda, Anah Tereza de Almeida Jácomo, Natália Mundim Tôrres, Giselle Bastos Alves, Leandro Silveira

Year: 2018

https://bioone.org/journals/journal-of-m...y027.short



Abstract

''Persistence of top predators in protected areas requires healthy populations of prey species. Jaguars (Panthera onca) are top predators in the Caatinga dry forest, a xeric domain in northeastern Brazil. Poaching is a threat to populations of jaguar prey in the Caatinga, but it is still widely popular among locals. Here, we investigated molecularly identified jaguar scats to assess prey composition in a protected area where large prey has been heavily depleted or driven extinct by poaching. We also make direct comparisons between trophic niche width and mean prey size through a literature review. We show that over 90% of the diet of jaguars was comprised of prey under 5 kg, mainly armadillos. Furthermore, we found that the values of trophic niche width (2.21) and mean prey size (5.23 kg) in our study area are among the lowest ever described for jaguars in the literature. Our results demonstrated that jaguars are able to shift their diet to small prey when larger quarry is scarce. However, subsisting in such a stressful trophic position may lead to decreased levels of recruitment and low emigration rate. Breeding females would have difficulty raising cubs without abundant large prey. If jaguars are to persist in the Caatinga, effective actions to reduce poaching inside protected areas and corridors must be implemented. One of the most important jaguar populations in this domain inhabits our study site, and prey conservation is paramount for long-term persistence of this top predator in the Caatinga.''



Prey base in the Past.

''In Serra da Capivara, prey species in the past included medium-sized vertebrates such as white-lipped peccaries (Tayassu pecari), collared peccaries, brocket deer (Mazama guazoubira), giant anteaters, and rheas (Rhea americana americana—Olmos 1992); all are considered game species in the Caatinga (Alves et al. 2016). However, poaching has eliminated rheas from the park, and while-white lipped peccaries were absent for decades (Wolff 2001; Astete 2008) before recolonizing the area during 2009–2010 (Astete 2012), occurring today in very low abundances. Reported as formerly abundant (Tega 2013), no live giant anteater had been observed in Serra da Capivara since 1994 (Wolff 2001); although extensive camera trapping revealed their existence in the park (Astete 2012), they are still considered functionally extinct.''




Modern days preybase

''We explored prey composition of jaguars in Serra da Capivara, a heavily poached park that still retains most jaguar prey species in low abundances. Our goals were 2-fold: 1) assess current prey composition, prey body size, and trophic niche width of jaguars in Serra da Capivara, and 2) compare such traits with jaguar diets reported in other studies. We predicted that depleted prey communities would lead to small prey sizes and narrow trophic niche width for this jaguar population.



Results

''From 93 scat samples collected in Serra da Capivara, 52 could be molecularly attributed to 16 jaguars (9 males, 7 females). Prey composition based on 50 scat samples that had food content was dominated by yellow armadillos (E. sexcinctus), which represented 64% of eaten prey and 52% of biomass consumed. With a frequency of 22%, lesser anteater was the second most important prey in frequency. Although collared peccaries appeared in 10% of the scats, they represented the same amount of biomass as lesser anteaters (22% for both species). Other smaller-sized prey comprised the rest of the diet (Table 1); 91.3% of this amount was comprised of species under 5 kg.''



*This image is copyright of its original author




Caatinga specimens from Serra da Capivara National Park, area which possesses a high density of melanistic jaguars of 23% (Samuel Enrique Astete Perez et al).


*This image is copyright of its original author



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NOTE: This study was done only with the population from Serra da Capivara National Park (PI), There's also other areas of Caatinga where very small population of jags still exists such as in Boqueirão da Onça National Park (BA) and in Serra das Confusões National park (PI).

Though the melanistic 43 kg adult male Caatinga jag (Lampião) who unfortunately died by starvation he was from Serra da Capivara National Park (PI), same area of that study.





Something interesting to note regarding the size variation that occurs here is at same time Caatinga jaguars are the smallest, their neighbours population who got more resources, from what we gathered possesses the currently second largest (in body size/mass) population of jaguars inside Brazil ( The Cerrado Jaguar ) only behind Pantanal jaguars ( and behind Porto Primavera jaguars too before the whole flood mess ). So the size difference variation is huge and very interesting.

And as in addition to that an interesting mention of the biologist Cláudia that in the Caatinga/Cerrado proximity/transition in the region of Serra das Confusões, Caracol, Raimundo Nonato located a little bit north of the Serra das Capivaras in Piauí, Caatinga Jags/Pumas in the proximity with the area of Cerrado that has a bit more resources sometimes they migrate from one biome end up moving into the other biome but its much more common to happen with Pumas.



Current estimates indicates that the density of jaguars can vary from one individual per 100 km2, as determined by the CENAP/ICMBio team in the region of Boqueirão da Onça, to 3 individuals per 100 km2, in the region of the Serra da Capivara National Park, an estimate made by the team of the IOP from (GO).


What plays major negative role regarding the very small population (in numbers) of Caatinga jags is deforestation but also without a doubt the hunting and poaching, as hunting is part of the culture of the residents from the Caatinga biome with hunters even competing against themselves and conflicts with caatinga jaguars, pumas, ocelots... occurs throughout the history directly and indirectly (massive hunting of its natural preys to consume their meat such as deers, armadillos, agouti, pecaris). Around the Caatinga area of Boqueirão da Onça in north Bahia, the region also serves for hunters as a source for species that are destined for illegal wild animal trafficking.

Now biologists from Amigos da Onça Program by Pró Carnívoros like Cláudia, Carol Esteves... with the support of the CENAP team are through the boqueirões, cactus, nettles, thorns and under the intense sun of the sertão of Bahia doing studies that aims to create a conservation planning unit by forming an ecological corridor and connect caatinga jags/pumas population together from Boqueirão da Onça (BA) to Serra da Capivara (PI) and to Serra das Confusões (PI) to allow the genetic exchanges from their individuals.



So just like all other cat species which also has this in common there's a whole adaptation to the environment overall, but what all got in common is that their main forced adaptation really comes from the massive destruction done by the humans. So their adaptation in this scenario gotta be on another level.
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United States Pckts Offline
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(04-30-2021, 02:33 AM)Balam Wrote:
(03-13-2021, 07:33 PM)Balam Wrote: I'm almost entirely sure that the Persian leopard from this chart:


*This image is copyright of its original author

Was taken over the curves, the shoulder height of 91 cm is too high, higher than some Siberian tigers. Not only was it taken over the curves but with the extended paw as well.

All other measurements show a pretty large leopard, my guess it that one a very large of somewhere in between 85-95 kg.

I have to bring some clarity on the information from the chart above because misinformation being passed around genuinely bugs me.

It was rather odd that the name of the paper where this leopard was mentioned was not included in any of the posts here, the table was simply posted, and it was expected of everyone to simply take it at face value while for jaguars the information comes in a very clear and transparent form, the methods used to measure the animals are laid out etc.

The table above comes from the paper Analysis of leopard (Panthera pardus) status in Iran (No.1). by Sinei (2007), in such paper it is mentioned that the measurements gather did not came exclusively from live animals, but that it included taxidermy individuals (as mentioned in the table itself), flat skins and skeletons:


*This image is copyright of its original author

Here are some examples of the taxidermied (e.g. stuffed rendition) individuals evaluated in this paper:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

And here are all the measurements of leopards gathered from live animals, flat skins, and stuffed taxidermy samples:


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And then one actual specimen that was alive:


*This image is copyright of its original author

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And finally, excellent craniometric data which I have not seen shared here before:


*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

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So the person who initially shared the table of the taxidermy individual purposely chose not to share the source of where it came from because he knew that when looking at it from its proper context his obsession with trying to equate leopards to Pantanal jaguar quickly falls apart. A taxidermy individual does not have the same dimensions as the live animal itself, the organic factors that contribute to the body mass of an animal cannot be replicated by synthetic means. There is no way to verify that the specimen mentioned in the table above had the same morphometric measurements had it been alive (very unlikely considering the extreme measurements), since it was stuffed the dimensions of the taxidermied animal were likely inflated.

You cannot compare a taxidermied animal to other animals that are not only measured alive but whose methods of measurements are described in detail and in the utmost professional matter (oftentimes on a straight line). In the same way that you cannot misrepresent craniometric data to paint a flattering picture of one animal based on skull length when the metrics in other departments of the skull are significantly lesser than the animal it is falsely being claimed to mirror in body mass.

The great table on skulls above shows two greater skull lengths 271 mm, but with drastic differences in width. The first one had a width of 191, which surpassed the record-holding leopard with a skull length of 288 mm by 10 mm (181 mm in width). The second one with the same length had a width of 177 mm, which is 7 mm greater than the third with a very similar skull length of 270 mm. Then comes the fourth one which had a dramatic drop in length with 259 mm, but retained the same width as the 270 mm skull.

What this shows is that there is little consistency in the direct correlation between skull length and width of Persian leopards, in contrast to jaguars who almost always show a direct correlation in this area in terms of the overall skull size. There is very little room to liberally assume that the record skull of a Persian leopard that is 2 mm shorter than an average gathered for Pantanal jaguars will translate to the leopard depicting the same average body mass when:

1. The skulls analyzed by Hoogesteijna and Mondolfi do not belong to the same jaguars utilized in the body mass average.
2. The width of said skull is significantly lesser than the jaguar. The skull height and bone density would also be lesser on the leopard skull and the full score of this outlier leopard, when compared to the jaguar's population average, would still be smaller and lighter.

This is what purposely misrepresenting data to spread an agenda looks like. The same people doing this tried their hardest to look with a microscopic lens the scientifically agreed-upon values for very large jaguars like Lopez to look for ways in reducing the body mass (despite the direct confirmation by the biologists involved that this jaguar had little to no stomach content). Meanwhile, I don't see anyone questioning the stomach content of the record-holding leopard of Namibia that weighed 96 kg, why is this? Then they share posts from hunting forums depicting butchered leopards with alleged weights of 100+ kg, with no reputable source behind them, and think that these records are somehow more reliable than the official data presented firt-hand by biologists involved in jaguar captures, the double standard here is staggering but the agenda very clear. Then they tried to misrepresent that the data that was shown in a paper where an alleged weight of 115 kg for a leopard was discarded for being too unreasonable, even after multiple other sources (including the authors of the paper itself) later clarified that the actual value was 95 kg and not 115, and of course this is without counting stomach content for this particular leopard in the same way they try to overanalyze it with jaguars.

Finally to show that "Persian leopards attain the body dimensions of Pantanal jaguars" they show the measurements of a taxidermied individual and then attempt to compare to the measurements of jaguars, many of whom are gathered in a straight line following the strictest protocols.

The facts are that not a single Persian leopard skull has attained the same dimensions as the average gathered for Pantanal jaguars, Persian leopards do not attain larger dimensions at averages or absolute values than female Pantanal jaguars (baring neck girth only, which in mature individuals is inflated by the dewlap which jaguars lack), the maximum recorded skull for a Mexican jaguar is larger than the largest Persian leopard skull, no leopard has been recorded weighing the same as the averages gathered for Pantanal or Llanos jaguars. While the standard on these forums for so long involving jaguars has been to examine every little bit of data with the utmost rigorous questioning, leopards shouldn't get a free pass from this either, especially when this group of individuals then likes to misrepresent the data to spread misinformation to others online.

Can a mod repost the Taxidermy specimens in the modern weights thread?
I have the largest specimens actual weight

*This image is copyright of its original author

Northern Iran
Caspian hyrcanian Forest
Adult Male
88 kg
From Kambiz Baradarani
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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A. Panthera pardus spelaea (Bächler, 1936) skulls. A. Allekoaitze Cave near Ataun, Spain (from Corral, 2012, herein choosen as paratype). 2. Skull, canine and mandible from Vjeternica Cave, Bosnia Herzegovina (Vjet-1 and 2, composed from: Miculini c, 2012). B. Main differences in the skulls of A. Panthera pardus pardus (Africa, modern), B. Panthera pardus uncia (Asia, modern), C. Lynx lynx (Europe, modern).

Late Pleistocene leopards across Europe - northernmost European German population, highest elevated records in the Swiss Alps, complete skeletons in the Bosnia Herzegowina Dinarids and comparison to the Ice Age cave art
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United States Pckts Offline
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As well as observations of Tigers being larger in the Sal Forests as well which I’ve posted before.
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United Kingdom Sully Offline
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From Mauricio Anton's "Sabertooth"

Amphimachairodus giganteus


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Homotherium latidens 


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Smilodon populator


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Australia LandSeaLion Offline
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An artist’s comparison of cat noses.


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Credit to @hibbary on Twitter.
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From Khan 2004, Ecology and Conservation of the Bengal Tiger in the Sundarbans Mangrove Forest, Bangladesh

About 65 million years ago, there was a dramatic change in mammalian evolution following the extinction of the dinosaurs, which opened up a world of opportunities for the shrew-like early mammals. In dank tropical forests and swamps, the mammals diversified and filled the niches left vacant, some becoming large herbivores, others ‘omnivores’, others predators (Macdonald 1992). The early carnivores, known as miacids, lived at the time between 60 and 55 million years ago. All modern members of the Order Carnivora (about 236 species) are the descendants of the miacids. About 55 million years ago these early arboreal carnivores split into two branches, the cats (Feloidea) and the dogs (Canoidea). The cat-branch dominated in the Old World and the dog-branch in the New World. The first true cat was Pseudaelurus, which evolved by 20 million years ago. They were medium-sized ambushers of small vertebrates. Among all the families of the carnivores only the members of the family Felidae (i.e. true cats) are specialised hunters and they are purely carnivorous. They are characterised by having high-domed skulls and short snouts, which provide anchorage for muscles that power a lethal bite. The cats have the sharpest carnassial teeth among all the carnivores (Macdonald 1992). They also have acute hearing, specialised paws and camouflaged coat colour to make their hunt successful. The larger cats, like the sabre-toothed cats, were originated from the medium-sized ancestors and they were common at the end of the Miocene, between five and six million years ago, when the world’s climate changed in ways that revolutionised the lives of most carnivore families. During that climatic change, a new lineage of swifter and more agile cats rose, which are known as pantherines. All today’s larger members of the cat family, including the tiger, are their descendants (Macdonald 1992). Evidence for the evolution of the tiger comes from the fossil remains, as well as from the modern molecular phylogenies. The genus Panthera probably evolved within the last five million years or so (Hemmer 1976, Collier and O’Brien 1985, Wayne et al. 1989, Kitchener 1999). Molecular phylogenies confirm the close relationship among the members of the genus Panthera and show that the tiger diverged more than two million years ago and before the divergence of the lion, leopard and jaguar (Collier and O’Brien 1985, Wayne et al. 1989, Wentzel et al. 1999). It is almost certain that the tiger originated in eastern Asia (Hemmer 1981, 1987; Herrington 1987; Mazak 1981, 1996; Kitchener 1999). The oldest fossil remains of the tiger have been discovered from northern China and Java (Hemmer 1971, 1976, 1987). Originally described as Felis palaeosinensis (Zdansky 1924), the fossil of a small tiger from Henan, northern China, is thought to date from the end of the Pliocene and the beginning of the Pleistocene and so may be up to two million years old (Hemmer 1967, 1987). Perhaps this was the ancestor of two or more Panthera cats of today, including the modern tiger (Kitchener 1999). Abundant tiger fossils have been discovered from China, Sumatra and Java, which are dated from the middle to late Pleistocene, but tiger fossils only appeared in the Indian sub-continent, the Altai, northern Russia and elsewhere in the late Pleistocene (Brandt 1871, Lydekker 1886, Tscherski 1892, Dubois 1908, Zdansky 1924, Brongersma 1935, Loukashkin 1937, Hooijer 1947; Hemmer 1971, 1976, 1987). According to Hemmer (1987) and Mazak (1996), the tiger originated in east Asia, from where two major dispersals took place about two million years ago. To the northwest, tigers migrated through woodlands and along the river systems into south-west Asia. To the south and south-west, tigers moved through continental south-east Asia, some crossing to the Indonesian islands, and others finally reaching India (Nowell and Jackson 1996). The South China tiger may be regarded as the relict population of the ‘stem’ tiger, living in the probable area of origin. Its skull morphology is the most primitive among all the living tiger sub-species (Herrington 1987). The radiation of tigers was driven by two primary factors: changes in climate and vegetation, which in turn led to the radiation of large ungulate prey species across Asia (Karanth 2001). The late arrival of the tiger in the Indian sub-continent is apparently supported by its absence in Sri Lanka, which was cut off by rising sea levels at the beginning of the Holocene (Kitchener 1999). Tigers had colonised this area either coming through north-east Asia via central Asia (Hemmer 1987, Mazak 1981), or through north-west India (Heptner and Sludskii 1992).
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( This post was last modified: 08-12-2021, 02:19 AM by Acinonyx sp. )

Genetically distinct population of Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) in Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) of India

ABSTRACT
We analyzed mtDNA polymorphisms (a total of 741 bp from a part of conserved control region, ND5, ND2, Cyt b and 12S) in 91 scats and 12 tissue samples of Bengal tiger (Panthera tigris tigris) populations across Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) located at the foothills of Himalayas in North Western India, Buxa Tiger Reserve (BTR), and North East India. In TAL and BTR, we found a specific haplotype at high frequency, which was absent elsewhere, indicating a genetically distinct population in these regions. Within the TAL region, there is some evidence for genetic isolation of the tiger populations west of river Ganges, i.e., in the western part of Rajaji National Park (RNP). Although the river itself might not constitute a significant barrier for tigers, recent human-induced changes in habitat and degradation of the MotichurChilla Corridor connecting the two sides of the tiger habitat of RNP might effectively prevent genetic exchange. A cohesive population is observed for the rest of the TAL. Even the more eastern BTR belongs genetically to this unit, despite the present lack of a migration corridor between BTR and TAL. In spite of a close geographic proximity, Chitwan (Nepal) constitutes a tiger population genetically different from TAL. Moreover, it is observed that the North East India tiger populations are genetically different from TAL and BTR, as well as from the other Bengal tiger populations in India.
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