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Freak Felids - A Discussion of History's Largest Felines

United States tigerluver Offline
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The caveat with the early P. spelaea specimens that shared the P. fossilis traits is that they may have actually been P. fossilis specimens, based on the fact that P. fossilis survived well into the middle Pleistocene according to Sabol (2011a). Sabol (2011a) also suggests that P. fossilis populations were separated by the mountain-living P. spelaea. In other words, the two forms coexisted at a period in time and were incompatible enough to not interbreed.
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United States GrizzlyClaws Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-10-2015, 09:08 PM by GrizzlyClaws )

So Panthera spelaea and Panthera fossilis may have coexisted during the late Middle Pleistocene, and Panthera fossilis should have survived until then, otherwise, it couldn't lead to the formation of Panthera atrox.

And Panthera spelaea and Panthera (fossilis) atrox should also have been coexisted in Alaska and Canada i guess, and the two species in fact didn't intermix with each other.

So according to this website, is the largest true Panthera spelaea specimen has a 451 mm skull? Whilst the other earlier giant 'Panthera spelaea' specimens were actually Panthera fossilis?

http://17thstreet.net/2014/08/02/legenda...-part-one/
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Australia Richardrli Offline
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(06-10-2015, 07:12 PM)'tigerluver' Wrote: The caveat with the early P. spelaea specimens that shared the P. fossilis traits is that they may have actually been P. fossilis specimens, based on the fact that P. fossilis survived well into the middle Pleistocene according to Sabol (2011a). Sabol (2011a) also suggests that P. fossilis populations were separated by the mountain-living P. spelaea. In other words, the two forms coexisted at a period in time and were incompatible enough to not interbreed.

 
Interesting, could you direct me to this paper? Thanks


 
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United States tigerluver Offline
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The giant Mokhnevskaya Cave skull of ca. 475 mm GSL is the largest of P. spelaea specimens (I'll have to redo P. spelaea weights one day). Two reasons as to why I am quite cerrtain this is P. spelaea. One, it is very wide compared to P. fossilis. The 484.7 mm Chateau skull canine alveoli breadths is 125.3 mm, while the Mokhnevskaya skull's canine alveoli breadth is 138 mm. Two, although I haven't been able to confirm the source's exact words, a few papers quote Baryshnikov (2002) estimate of the Mokhnevskaya cave being represented of the last interglacial, which was relatively very recent. Unfortunately, most of the cave lion skulls were not pictured by the author and are sitting somewhere collecting dust like the Javan fossils, so further comparisons of skull morphology beyond what Marciszak's detailed study had is impossible. 

According to Sotnikova and Foronova (2014), P. spelaea did make it to Alaska. P. atrox is much more P. fossilis than P. spelaea, and maybe this is evidence as well as to the inability for P. fossilis and P. spelaea to interbreed.

The Sabol (2011a) document is in Quaternaire, a journal that is only published in hard copy that costs quite a bit, so I haven't bothered emailing the author for it. Although, Sotnikova and Foronova (2014) go over the conclusions. I've attached it, p. 12 is where the hypothesis is discussed. 

Attached Files
.pdf   Sotnikova and Foronova (2014) Panthera fossilis from Asia.pdf (Size: 1.42 MB / Downloads: 7)
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United States GrizzlyClaws Offline
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If its muzzle breadth between the canine is 138 mm, then it is indeed Panthera spelaea as it is proportionally similar to the modern tigers.

BTW, all those Panthera spelaea specimens found in the Western Russia are huge, bigger than those found in the Europe proper.

Another private skull from Perm is also huge, which is no less than 460 mm.

So the Beringian lions were Panthera spelaea as well, are they younger than the Panthera spelaea from the Western Russia?
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United States tigerluver Offline
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I haven't read of any direct date given to P. spelaea of Alaska. P. atrox supposedly becoming genetically distinct 340 kya, so P. spelaea likely made to Alaska a bit before, but likely after, P. fossilis, thus its expansion was severely limited. 

In skull, P. spelaea is robust as it gets. I can't say if the body proportions ditched cursoriality for stockiness, but the one female skeleton present by Deidrich doesn't indicate this shift, but this is a European specimen if I remember correctly. The late Ural P. spelaea may have at least gotten close to the P. fossilis maximum. On top of this skull there's a 465 mm femur from NW Germany, just a bit smaller than the 470 mm P. fossilis one. The European and early Russian form probably didn't get that big as the giant predator niche was already taken by P. fossilis. 

The lion clad probably ecologically capped the size of many other felids, as where they were not present, other felids grew to be as big as them (S. populator, P.t. soloensis), but when they were there, S. fatalis size looked to be the best you could get. Evolutionarily successful until whatever happened 10 kya. 
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United States GrizzlyClaws Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-10-2015, 11:43 PM by GrizzlyClaws )

I got the impression that Panthera fossilis and Panthera leo may have shared a more recent common ancestor together than with Panthera spelaea. Panthera spealea may be the earliest branched off member of the lion clade, they are more primitive that is alleged with the faintly stripes, but i just don't have any proof to back up my assumption.

Also, according to the size consistency, Panthera spelea should be splitted into three blocks/subspecies; the European subspecies, the Western Russian subspecies, the Eastern Russian/Alaskan subspecies.

Also, do you think there is any connection between the Manchurian mandible and Panthera spelaea? Since Panthera spelaea is probably the most tiger-like member from the lion clade.
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United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-11-2015, 12:18 AM by tigerluver )

P. atrox is closer to P. leo by Barnett et al (2009) than P. spelaea, and that may be evidence to your hypothesis. The hair sample of P. spelaea recently found is also intriguing. It's red, what type of red, we'll have to wait and see. 

After P. youngi and P. t. acutidens, P. spelaea is very similar. Even P. atrox has a similar squarish symphysis. Yes, the Wahnsien skull was a good match to the Manchurian mandible, but modern tiger or even Ngandong/Trinil tiger skulls were not, so at least morphologically, there's some distance. Although, the canine of the mandible is very Wahnsien-like with its great robustness.

Morphology isn't the best predictor of evolutionary relationship due to the phenomenon of convergent evolution. Different DNA sequences can and do lead to the same result in distantly related species. That's why I tend to side with the Barnett conclusion over the Christiansen conclusion. 
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United States GrizzlyClaws Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-11-2015, 12:39 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

The size and the timeline of that mandible seem to be very consistent with that of the largest Panthera spealea specimen from the Ural/Western Russia, but the morphology and the geographic proximity are not.

So this may indicate a hypothesis that any Panthera species can grow huge when it has managed to seize the niche position at the top of the food chains.

During the late Pleistocene peiord, the Manchuria probably had the very similar ecological systems like that of the Ural, such as the forest steppe zone, so this is what happened when a tiger clade species managed to seize the top niche position there, they just used to grow as large as Panthera fossilis and the Panthera spelaea from the Ural.
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United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-12-2015, 07:29 AM by tigerluver )

A correction of my assessment of Trinil fossils.

The Trinil femur by Brongersma is a leopard. Ignoring the size of the bone itself, I recently familiarized myself with leopard bones. Leopards look to have a thinner trochanteric fossa, a higher trochanter than femoral head, and a relatively thinner AP diameter of the femoral head. The Trinil femur has pretty much the same traits. The vK leopard femur is also identical in structure as well. Add to that, it's a specimen below 100 kg and there's no visible growth plates, so the probability of it being a tiger is very low. The two metacarpals in vK are also likely leopard not only on the basis of size, but also structure. The metacarpals that are certainly tiger from Trinil are more curved and a bit more robust. 

The Trinil specimens are not significantly smaller than the majority of the Ngandong/Pitoe specimens, supporting the new study that Trinil HK isn't much older than the Solo river fauna. 

Also, the missing link in the southeast Asian tiger should be P.t. oxygnatha of Sangiran, which is dated to a bit over a 1 million years ago. This fits quite well with the mid Pleistocene tiger lineage.
 
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United States GrizzlyClaws Offline
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So does this mean that the Trinil tiger is another giant?

Also, what do you think that the Panthera spelaea population in the Eastern Russia/Beringia didn't thrive and become the apex predator like they did in the Western Russia and Europe?
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United States tigerluver Offline
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In literal terms, there's no evidence that the Trinil population are very large as the 4 specimens are around 200 kg or less. Though, as I stated before, this sample match well with most of the Ngandong sample, so maybe bigger specimens were present, considering it should be of the same subspecies as the Ngandong sample.

Not sure on the P. spelaea question. I'll have to think about that one. I guess there must've been some difference in predators present as well as the landscape.
 
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United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-12-2015, 10:57 AM by tigerluver )

A question to everyone. If bones are consistently more robust in a factor which has the higher accuracy than simple length measurements, should body mass estimates derived solely from skull length (a dimension more correlated with body size than body mass) be weighted in some form. Would this increase accuracy or cause overestimations? The more replies the better to this question.
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GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-13-2015, 11:50 AM by GuateGojira )

(06-10-2015, 07:12 PM)'tigerluver' Wrote: The caveat with the early P. spelaea specimens that shared the P. fossilis traits is that they may have actually been P. fossilis specimens, based on the fact that P. fossilis survived well into the middle Pleistocene according to Sabol (2011a). Sabol (2011a) also suggests that P. fossilis populations were separated by the mountain-living P. spelaea. In other words, the two forms coexisted at a period in time and were incompatible enough to not interbreed.

 
If they don't interbreed, like the case of the Alaskan Panthera spelaea and the North-Central American Panthera atrox, this is another evidence that these were already different species and not only "subspecies". Maybe, although similar in skull morphology, they were like the leopard and the lion, very close and similar, but different in ecology, some biological items and even coat pattern.
 
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United States GrizzlyClaws Offline
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I guess the different tiger subspecies that share a geographic proximity should often mix with each other, just like the Bengal/Indochinese population on the border between India and Myanmar.

BTW, tigerluver's question is a bit tricky, since the modern lions got longer skull than the tiger moderns on average, but i don't think the lion got a greater body size nor the greater body mass.

So i think the weight factor is correlated with the body mass than the skull factor.
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