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Freak Felids - A Discussion of History's Largest Felines

Netherlands peter Offline
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#16
( This post was last modified: 06-25-2014, 08:22 AM by peter )

As he was mentioned, I decided to post a few pictures of the Duisburg Zoo tiger and some that compare. This will allow for a bit of visibility.


1 - The Duisburg Zoo tiger



*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author




2 - Other captive male Amur tigers with large skulls:



*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author



3 - Wild male Amur tigers with exceptional skulls:



*This image is copyright of its original author





*This image is copyright of its original author





*This image is copyright of its original author



4 - Extinct big cats could have had relatively long, but less robust skulls:



*This image is copyright of its original author



5 - Except for extinct tigers in central and northern China:



*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author
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Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-25-2014, 09:58 PM by peter )

Amur tigers with exceptional skulls are uncommon, but by no means very rare. At least, not in captive animals. It seems to be a genetic treat. Both Heptner & Sludskij and V. Mazak wrote mature male Amur tigers have relatively large skulls, sometimes up to 20% of the head and body length.

Skulls of captive Indian tigers, however, seem to be more robust (relatively wider and heavier) than those of captive male Amur tigers. I don't know about wild Indian tigers, but nearly all photographs of Kazirangha male tigers point towards large and heavy skulls. In both sexes. This is a difference with Amur tigers. The longest female skull I know of was 329,00 mm. in greatest total length (wild Amur tigress), but the average is close to 300,00 mm.

Indian hunters and experienced forest officials agreed the relation between skull width and weight is stronger than skull length and (body) weight. Could be similar in Amur tigers. The widest skulls I know of all belong to wild male Indian tigers, but I never measured a skull of a wild male Amur tiger. The tigers above all seem to have exceptional wide and robust skulls.

Second place in the skull competition, in my opinion, would go to Sumatra. They show a lot of variation (males roughly range between 280,00-350,00 mm. in greatest total length), but the largest skulls no doubt are missing from museum collections. Males, at about 310,00-315,00 mm. in greatest total length have relatively large skulls compared to their weight (males average 115-120 kg.). Sumatrans seem to have proportionally larger skulls than large jaguars.

This skull of a well-known Sumatran man-eater has to be somewhere. I might try Bogor in the near future, but it could be he's in The Netherlands after all:


*This image is copyright of its original author
       

  
When you get to skulls, bones and computations regarding extinct big cats, it would not be superfluous to distinguish between species. Male lions, in my opinion, seem to have relatively longer skulls and relatively larger chests (averages) than tigers of similar size. Indian tigers would be the exception to the general rule. They are, however, not heavier. Large tiger subspecies (averages) seem to top the list.

Those who had experience with both wild Indian and wild Amur tigers agreed the old Amurs (a century ago) were both larger and heavier than all others. Today, Indian seem to top the list. The relation between skull and body size (as well as mass) could change over time, that it.

Here's three more:

1 - Large captive male lion (Argentina). Very tall and large skull, but not overly robust:



*This image is copyright of its original author
 


2 - Wild male Amur tiger (not weighed as far as I know):



*This image is copyright of its original author



3 - Wild male Amur tiger. Man-eater, they said, but the faces of the hunters point in another direction. Average-sized male in many respects, but the skull is larger than one would expect:



*This image is copyright of its original author
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India sanjay Offline
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#18

Great Information Peter. TFS
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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#19

Fascinating new topic. It is incredible how much work have done Tigerluver about the body mass of these great cats.

I propouse to take two sides for this topic:
1. The body size - morphology and linear dimentions, I will take this part.
2. The body weight - body mass and formulas, Tigerluver is the top one here.

What do you say? [img]images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img]

The cats that most be worked here are:
* The Ngandong tiger (Panthera tigris soloensis)
* The American "lion" (Panthera (spelaea) atrox)
* The Cromerian "lion" (Panthera spelaea fossilis)
* The Wanhsien tiger (Panthera tigris acutidens)
* The Cave "lion" (Panthera spelaea spelaea)

I think that this five cats are the maximum representants of the Panthera family. In this time, only the largest tigers match those sizes.
 
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United States tigerluver Offline
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#20

Great to have you back, Peter and Guate. 

I guess I'll share some data on the American lion. 

There are three publications which estimate the maximum weight of this species. Anyonge (1993) estimated a maximum mass of 500 kg, Sorkin (2008) 420 kg, and Christiansen and Harris (2009) with a maximum of 351 kg and a mean of 255.65 kg. Anyonge's estimate has been agreed upon to be a serious overestimate. Sorkin's method is very flawed, as he attached the bone measurement of a museum specimen to the mass of a totally different animal, specifically the largest one on record, which gives very inaccurate results. Christiansen and Harris used isometry to estimate masses, but they even abondoned simple isometry in later studies (Mazak et al., 2011) as the difference between estimates based on each comparitive specimen creates a lot of doubt. Dr. Christiansen unfortunately never estimated P. atrox mass again with his regression methods.

Using essentially the same methods of regression and database for the Cromerian lion, I compiled a catalog of mass estimates of recorded specimens of the American lion. If anyone would like to see the formulas, just ask.


*This image is copyright of its original author


 
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Netherlands peter Offline
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Very interesting info on the American lion, Tigerluver. Must have taken a lot of time. My compliments. I have a few questions regarding skulls and estimated weight.

1 - Assuming that CBL is condylobasal length, many skulls, compared to those of today's lions, are very large, if not immense. Anything known on the average difference between CBL and GTL (greatest total length)? If so, was the difference compared to the average difference in skulls of modern lions? 
2 - Anything known on zygomatic width? And the difference between then and now? 
3 - Anything known on the relation between the skull and the other bones? And in modern lions?
4 - Anything known on skull and bone robustness? And compared to modern lions?
5 - Anything known on the bones in the feet?
6 - Would you be able to get to estimates if you would use skulls of modern lions only? And tigers?
7 - In what way did you translate dimorphism into numbers? 

I know answering these questions would involve a lot of time. Don't overdo it. A few short answers would do. I need some indications in order to compare your info with what I found in modern big cats. 

Yes, I have accurate info on skull size, body length and body mass in wild tigers. Not much (a few dozen), but enough to get to  conclusions. I'm working on a number of tables and will post the results when done. Might take a few more months, though.

I found one more on exceptional skulls. This photograph, posted before, was taken in India. Might have been the biggest skull I saw. Note there's no subtle angle resulting in an extra-large skull. This tiger seems to compare to the tiger Raja posted before for skull and rostrum width:



*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-26-2014, 09:28 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

(06-26-2014, 07:26 AM)'peter' Wrote: Very interesting info on the American lion, Tigerluver. Must have taken a lot of time. My compliments. I have a few questions regarding skulls and estimated weight.

1 - Assuming that CBL is condylobasal length, many skulls, compared to those of today's lions, are very large, if not immense. Anything known on the average difference between CBL and GTL (greatest total length)? If so, was the difference compared to the average difference in skulls of modern lions? 
2 - Anything known on zygomatic width? And the difference between then and now? 
3 - Anything known on the relation between the skull and the other bones? And in modern lions?
4 - Anything known on skull and bone robustness? And compared to modern lions?
5 - Anything known on the bones in the feet?
6 - Would you be able to get to estimates if you would use skulls of modern lions only? And tigers?
7 - In what way did you translate dimorphism into numbers? 

I know answering these questions would involve a lot of time. Don't overdo it. A few short answers would do. I need some indications in order to compare your info with what I found in modern big cats. 

Yes, I have accurate info on skull size, body length and body mass in wild tigers. Not much (a few dozen), but enough to get to  conclusions. I'm working on a number of tables and will post the results when done. Might take a few more months, though.

I found one more on exceptional skulls. This photograph, posted before, was taken in India. Might have been the biggest skull I saw. Note there's no subtle angle resulting in an extra-large skull. This tiger seems to compare to the tiger Raja posted before for skull and rostrum width:



*This image is copyright of its original author




*This image is copyright of its original author


 

Here is the second largest American lion skull, it is about 458mm in the greatest length.

However, the canine teeth are hollow, and how woud you perceive its robustness so far?


*This image is copyright of its original author
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Netherlands peter Offline
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#23

I saw a number of skulls of extinct big cats and I measured over 300 big cat skulls in museums. I concluded modern big cats, although smaller and not as heavy, seem to be more specialized than their extinct relatives. Skullwise, although smaller compared to some large extinct big cats, they also seem to be more robust, especially in the (conical) teeth. But I also saw the skulls of tigers found in China you posted and they were unmatched for robusticy. 

l got to opinions, but these are a result of experience and have limited value. I'm very interested in the info Tigerluver used to get to his estimates. I agree with Guate this topic could produce a good debate. We'll see.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(06-26-2014, 07:26 AM)'peter' Wrote: Very interesting info on the American lion, Tigerluver. Must have taken a lot of time. My compliments. I have a few questions regarding skulls and estimated weight.

1 - Assuming that CBL is condylobasal length, many skulls, compared to those of today's lions, are very large, if not immense. Anything known on the average difference between CBL and GTL (greatest total length)? If so, was the difference compared to the average difference in skulls of modern lions? 
2 - Anything known on zygomatic width? And the difference between then and now? 
3 - Anything known on the relation between the skull and the other bones? And in modern lions?
4 - Anything known on skull and bone robustness? And compared to modern lions?
5 - Anything known on the bones in the feet?
6 - Would you be able to get to estimates if you would use skulls of modern lions only? And tigers?
7 - In what way did you translate dimorphism into numbers? 

 

*This image is copyright of its original author

Yes peter, it will take time, but the good thing is that in this forum, everything is posible! [img]images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/img]
 
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Netherlands peter Offline
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Nice one, Guate. How are you, my friend?
 
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United States tigerluver Offline
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I prepared this chart to supplement questions 1 and 2:

*This image is copyright of its original author

GSL = greatest skull length
CBL = condylobasal length
ZGW = zygomatic width

1. As posted, the CBL/GSL ratio from this sample is .9083. From what I've seen, lions fall close with this ratio. 

2. American lions seemed to have zygomatic arches thinner arches. Christiansen and Harris (2009) found the average ZGW/CBL ratio to be 0.686. From that study, they published the average ZGW/CBL of the follow:
Lions: 0.721
Jaguars: 0.736
Tigers: 0.737

From the data, P. atrox seems to have significantly thinner arches, so in a way, a thinner skull.  The thinner skull trait is shared by P. s. fossilis as well. But here's the interesting thing, the snout width to CBL ratio is significantly greater in the American lion than tigers, lions, and jaguars. Furthermore, the nasal aperture width to CBL is also greater than lions, tiges, and jaguars. For whatever reason, P. atrox needed to breathe at a better rate as indicated by its snout dimensions. The nasal aperture width is an aspect where P. atrox is strikingly similar to P. leo, in my opinion supporting the notion that P. atrox was just as cursorial.

3. Guaging the ratios of P. atrox skull to other bones is a bit difficult. Generally, there is a lot of variance within a species on how the skull relates to the rest of the body. Also, "full skeletons" are often just mixes and matches of different individuals. Females seems to have proportonately smaller skulls, while the largest of the males the opposite. I compared the largest mass estimates of long bones to the closest mass estimate from a skull, and I've found that P. atrox has a proportionately similar sized skull compared to lions, maybe slightly smaller. Though, my lion database is small so take this observation with a grain of salt. Regardless, P. atrox have a significantly proportionately larger skull compared to tigers.

4. No weights have been taken of P. atrox skulls that I know of. As stated in (2), P. atrox has thinner skulls from the arches but a very wide snout. In terms of long bones, they are quiet robust, at the high end of the spectrum, sitting right next to modern lions. 

5. Merriam and Stock (1932) states many digits have been found. From around page 156, they went to an in-depth analyiss of digits. Here's the link:
http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=md...up;seq=180

I don't really know of studies of the digits of modern cats, any reference could help draw a comparison.

6. Certainly. I tried deriving estimates from a small sample of lions and tigers in the Copenhagen museum, but the correlation isn't so strong as the skull proportionalities are all over the place (partially due to the fact that females have such proportionately small skulls). So I opted to use the larger database of more species. In my opinion, a larger sample size of lion and tigers instead would probably be better than using smaller species in the estimate for the reasons described in my P. s. fossilis post. (7) might help explain the estimation method better.

7. Do you mean in terms of estimating the specimen masses? If so, I used least squares regression to plot the grow trend. To get a linear relationship, I logarithmically scaled mass and bone dimension. Using the line of best fit equation, I predict the mass. Specimens that are out of the modern database limits are fragile to estimate. Have an uneven distribution of large and small estimates leads to awkward estimates, as in the case of Anyonge and even Christiansen and Harris at points. To try to overcome this, I tightened my specimen range to just tigers and lions.

I hope I answered with enough detail. And no worries, I really enjoy these discussions and answering questions.  
 
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Netherlands peter Offline
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Great response and much appreciated. Get back to you on that one.
 
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(06-26-2014, 09:10 AM)'peter' Wrote: Nice one, Guate. How are you, my friend?
 

 
Very well, thank God, although with my job, I have less time to participate. However, here I am.

If you mention great cats and prehistory, you most be 100% that I will arise. [img]images/smilies/tongue.gif[/img]
 
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United States Pckts Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-26-2014, 10:57 PM by Pckts )

Great stuff guys especially Tigerluver, can't wait to read more. TFS and spending the time. 
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United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-27-2014, 11:23 AM by tigerluver )

Another aspect of body mass estimate I've been working with is validation of estimates from bones. For starters, I collected scientific and hunting record specimens of wild Bengal tigers and compiled this (a scientist from the late 1900s proposed this method, can't remember who).:

*This image is copyright of its original author


Log-scaled everything to find a growth trend:

*This image is copyright of its original author


I wasn't too selective on what I added to the database, as there are some clearly underweight specimens while at the same time overweight, hopefully it cancels out. The allometry is extremely positive. The fit of the line is okay. Looking at this, there's more to body mass than just long bones.

My research here is in the early stages. I estimated the Ngandong tiger's total length to be 347 cm. Applying it here yielded an estimate of 446 kg. 

Thoughts?
Looking at Amurs, they are much lankier, especially the modern variety. Mixing Amur data with Bengal data totally throws off the correlation. 
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