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Lion and tiger shoulder heights

India Hello Offline
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#1

post reliable info regarding lion and tiger shoulder heights.I came across different sites saying lion of 120 cm?Is this true that a lion averages 120 cm when standing.IMO lions and tigers stand taller in captivity than wild.I know a Cattle killer lion of 145 cm over curves that I read on a thread which I forgot and that indvidual is no less than 4 feet so its possible for a lion to be that much rarely right?a tiger of 118 cm is excluded in the data regarding Bengal tiger size made by @GuateGojira ,the max-height included was 114 cm.Why you excluded the figure of 118 cm?
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India Hello Offline
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( This post was last modified: 10-22-2019, 08:37 PM by Hello )

This is the data including 145 cm (over curves) lion meaning that this lion is no less than 4 feet high at shoulders when standing.

*This image is copyright of its original author

Tallest tiger was of 118 cm over pegs then why didn't @GuateGojira include that in the table?

*This image is copyright of its original author
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 10-31-2019, 07:34 AM by GuateGojira )

Shoulder height of Tigers and Lions - facts vs fiction:

Some time ago I created a list of the shoulder height of tigers and lions measured between pegs. This do not take all the measurements available, but did contain the largest samples and the biggest specimen on record, "wild" in greeen and blue from "captivy":

Lions:
* 101 cm (n=50). Range: 86-109 cm. Stevenson-Hamilton (1947) – South Africa.
* 96.2 cm (n=14). Range: 81.3 cm-107 cm. Meinertzhagen (1938) – Kenya, East Africa.
* 89.7 cm (n=9). Range: 82 - 93. Hailemariam (2015) – Addis Ababa Zoo, Ethiopia.
* 97 cm (n=?). No range. Pocock (1939).
* 114 cm Max. recorded in the Wild (Pitman, 1945).
* 112 cm. Max. recorded in captivity (Wood, 1978).
Bengal tigers:
* 109.3 cm (n=6). Range: 104-114 cm. Brown (1893) – Purneah, India.
* 100 cm (n=43). Range: 88-114 cm . Cooch Behar (1908) – Northeast India.
   88 cm (n=5). Range: 86-91 cm. . Cooch Behar (1908) – Northeast India.
* 99 cm (n=42). Range: 91-112 cm. Brander (1923) – Central India.
* 93.3 cm (n=5). Range: 89-99 cm. Mazák (1983).
* 91 cm (n=?). No range. Pocock (1939).
* 114 cm Max. recorded in the Wild (Cooch Behar (1908) – Brown (1893)).
* 118 cm Max. recorded standing height in any big cat (Ward, 1914) - need to be reviewed.
Amur tiger:
* 95 cm (n=11). Range: 82-106 cm. Kerley et al. (2005) – Sikhote-Alin ZP, Russia.
* 102 cm (n=7). Range: 96-106 cm. Mazák (1983).
* 106 cm Max. recorded in the Wild (Kerley et al., 2005).

As we can see, all these measurements were taken "between pegs" and not "along the curves", except for the Amur tigers in Sikhote Alin which were taken along the curves but in sections (in the specimen that I saw) and the captive lions from Ethiopia.

Here is a description how Dunbar Brander took his height measurements, this in an article at JBNHS Vol 34 (page 548):

*This image is copyright of its original author


We can assume that all the other cats in the list were measured in the same form, thus this is the reliable way to take height measurements in cats. We can also see that the tallest tiger and lion are of the same size, which is 114 cm tall, and that is for very big specimens. The average for the Bengal/Amur tigers and the East/South African lions is about 100 cm. So they are practically the same height, altough it is normally stated that lions are taller than tigers, this is not supported by measurements and could be because of the individual differences or the effect of the mane, of course this is in the case of the largest tiger subspecies/populations.

So, why the figure of 118 cm for the tallest Bengal tiger is not included in my comparative images? Pocock (1939) made a little analysis of that figure, check that the figure came from Rowland Ward's Records of Big Game (1914), and it says that it came from an "standing height" measurements:

*This image is copyright of its original author


However, as Pocock stated, how is posible that the Maharaja could take that measurement (standing height) from a wild tiger? Interestingly, that figure is not in the book of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar (1908), as his tallest tiger is of 114 cm. Check this:

*This image is copyright of its original author


Check what Pocock (1939) said:

*This image is copyright of its original author


So that is why I did not included it in my comparative image at the end, and I took the maximum of 114 cm that was taken "between pegs" for the largest tiger recorded by the Maharaja of Cooch Behar (1908) and also other tiger of 114 cm measured by Mr Fred Shillingford, as he clearly said that he measured the height of his tigers "between perpendiculars", which is other form to say "between pegs" (Brown, 1893). 

The tallest lion from the book of 1914 of Rowland ward was of 122 cm and the tallest tiger was of 127 cm, but these are certainly measurements "over curves" and did not constitute a real stading height. The next tallest ones are 2 males of 114 cm for the lion and 1 male of 107 cm for the tiger, more in the line with the other records of my list. However, in the lion side, one the two lions that measured 114 cm is one of the Tsavo Maneaters and as we know that those lions were measured "over curves" it should be discarted. The other lion came from S. E. White and we don't know if he measured "between pegs" or "over curves". What we do know is that the Mr Selous did measured his lions "between pegs" and his tallest lion was of 112 cm (the forth tallest in the list) and he said that it was "exceptional" in size,so this is the only reliable from the biggest of the specimens.

Source of the book of Rowland Ward if you want to check: https://archive.org/details/recordsofbig...d/page/492

Interestingly and accurate to note, the biggest lion (Vaughan Kirby, in Bryden, 1899) and biggest tiger (Brander, 1927) on record (in body size dimentions) had a shoulder height "between pegs" of 112 cm and 109 cm respectivelly.


So, as we can see, the tallest lions and tigers, correctly measured "betwen pegs" and trying to copy the real standing height, do not surpass the 114 cm in any case and the average male lion/tiger will measure much less. Take in count that these heights of over 110 cm are trully exceptional, as the famous captive lion "Simba" had a shoulder height of 112 cm and look how tall it was (sadly I don't know how tall was Mr Nyoka). Information and picture from Wood (1978):

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


Now, what about the often quoted figure of 120 cm for the lion? It is quoted even by Sunquist & Sunquist (2002). However we must go to the main source of that figure, in this case the great study of Dr Smut and colleges of 1980, with  the lions of South Africa:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


As we can see, the height was not an standing height and he clearly says that it was takenalong the leg to the tip of the extendend foot. In fact, we can also see that he just presented the graphic but from that all the modern documents about lions took the figure. Other source is Walker's Mammals of the world, which also quote a height of 120 cm, but again that is an exageration. Checking all the available records of lions measured "between pegs" none surpass the 114 cm and most of them all around 100 cm.

Finally, what about the Hobatere lions, which presentes a height of 145 cm for a young adult male?

Using plain and simple logic, a young adult male lion CAN'T measure 145 cm in height, that is for sure. Even the tallest cats in history, among them the American "lion" Panthera atrox, had a shoulder height of c.125 cm (Turner & Anton, 1997).

We have a list of 152 male lions measured "between pegs" from East and Southern Africa and none surpass the 114 cm and all are adult males and the largest captive male lion in history, a real giant, did not surpassed the 112 cm. So how is possible that a lion can reach 145 cm??? Simple, the method of measurements!

In the original webpage at 2015 it clearly differentiated the measurements of "shoulder height" and "leg length", both of these measurements were takeng along the contours of the body following the ALPRU process. Check the first set of measurements:

*This image is copyright of its original author


Here is the ALPRU process:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


As you can see, this method is a copy-paste of the unreliable method used by hunters in the past. Why they are using this method again is beyond our understanding.


Sadly, when the new set of measurements was publishes in a PDF document in 2015, it no longer differntaited the "shoulder heigth" and the "leg length". Check this:

*This image is copyright of its original author


We can see in the previous table of 2015 that the two measurements are the same, with the diference that one is from shoulder to pad of the paw and other from shoulder to tip of paw, both over curves. They just mixed the figures between them!

Finally in 2016 it was published a PDF with these measurements:

*This image is copyright of its original author


They mixed the measurements "shoulder height" and "leg length" and are greatelly exagerated. None of these shoulder height measurements can be accurate, specially when in pictures we can see that these lions are "smaller" compared with other populations, check this:

*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


We can see they bellies are full, which will explain they high weights. But check this other male from Phinda Private Game Reserve in South Africa, it weighed only 203 kg!:

*This image is copyright of its original author


This last lion looks bigger than those males from Hobatere, so these pictures and the fact that we have measurements from record lions that did not even aproach to the HUGE figures reported by Hobatere, drive us to conclude that those measurements are not reliable, at least in length and height figures.

Finally a coupule of pictures of how the shoulder height is been measured in modern lions:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


Certainly this is not the method used by old Zoologists like Brander or hunters like Stevenson-Hamilton, which produced the most reliable figures about size and height. A comparison between the old figures can't be made with the modern ones.

So, there is no such a thing as a lion of 120 - 140 cm in height in any realiable hunting records or in an accurate modern record.


Hope this help to clarify this issue for future references.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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#4

I forgot to add these two non-wild cats:

The biggest liger (non obese) ever measured or weighed, the great "Hercules":

*This image is copyright of its original author

Shoulder height of 125 cm.

The biggest cat ever held in captivity, the li-tiger "Cubanacan":

*This image is copyright of its original author

Shoulder height of 132 cm.

So, appart from the giant Pleistocene cats, just the hybrids reach heights of over 120 cm.
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India Hello Offline
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#5

Thanks for Posting and I appreciate your work.So on average lions are taller than tiger by 2 cm and at max they are same at 114 cm. Large Prehistoric cats are about 120 cm.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(10-31-2019, 02:25 PM)Hello Wrote: Thanks for Posting and I appreciate your work.So on average lions are taller than tiger by 2 cm and at max they are same at 114 cm. Large Prehistoric cats are about 120 cm.

No problem, is a pleasure to share information.

About the averages, it depends of the population, but we can say that the largest lion populations are about 2 cm taller than the largest tiger populations, but are 114 cm at maximum in both species.

Prehistoric cats are the only ones that reliable reached the 120 cm or more, included the giant Panthera cats and the even heavier Smilodon populator, among other giant cats.
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