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Lions and Tigers in India

United States Pckts Offline
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#16

His entire theory may not be right because anybody who is presenting anything new, may have a few "right or wrong" things, but as a whole it is far more reasonable to me to believe that Gir lions are simply a descendent of african lions brought over by alexander and many others to use in hunts, fights, etc.... Wether looking at their genetically almost identical make up, deformaties from inbreeding, reproductive capabilities, as well as their relatively identical body size and structure, it makes much more sense for me to believe they are infact a shell of their once wild cousins from africa. It is like the cape lion which was thought of as a different sub species but is now known for not being a different sub species to other southern lions. Or crater lion which is actually just transient lions from other areas.
Same goes for the tiger, the siberian and caspian are believed to be two different subspecies but we are finding out that they are probably the same or almost the same cat.

The barbary lion may be a different story, but even so, it is still closely related to the Atlas lion. The body size and structure is also again, very typical of any lion sub species. We also know that the Mane, which is the old identifier of different lion sub species is easily changed due to climate or living situation.
Just a quick example

*This image is copyright of its original author

Here you can see this male from Harbin, now according to mane description, this lion would be a cape lion if I am correct. Gaute can confirm.
But I say cape because cape lions have large manes with a mane that is on their bellies and doesn't run directly from the front to the back like the alleged Barbary.

But all Harbin lions are african lion hybrids or s. african lions I believe but they still grow large thick manes as well as longer coats on their bodies. That is proof of a adaption to the tempature.
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United States Pckts Offline
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#17

This shows how related the Barbary and Indian are and if the Indian and African are genetically identically, than all of these "alleged sub species" are actually just inbred and transient Lions all from the same area.
=mediumIndia could soon help bring back an extinct, spectacular species of lions

India could soon help bring back an extinct lion species. DNA tests by an international team of scientists has confirmed the lions in India have close genetic links with the now extinct Barbary lions. 

This means that "reseeding" Indian lions could bring back the extinct species and reintroduce lions into North Africa. 

Less than 400 Asiatic lions survive at present on the Kathiawar Peninsula of India and the species is listed as endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. 

Barbary lions of North Africa — including mountainous regions — extending from Egypt to Morocco were also called the Atlas lions and had the most spectacular physical features of all lion species. The lion's extensive mane made it look majestic. It was a lot larger with differently-coloured eyes to other lions. 

Dr Ross Barnett of Copenhagen University, who had started the research during his days at Durham University in UK, sequenced the DNA from the skulls of two Barbary lions once held in Britain's Tower of London. It has helped reveal the origin of modern lions. 

The skulls of these lions dated as living in the 14th and 15th centuries were discovered preserved in the Tower of London's moat. 

Dr Barnett said he was surprised by the incredibly close relationship between the extinct Barbary lion from North Africa and the Asian lion from India. This he says could now get conservationists start talking about resurrecting the subspecies and reintroducing lions into North Africa" 

Despite the large geographical distances between them, the Indian lions seem to be closely related to Iranian lions and the Barbary lions of North Africa. 

The study says: "In the tiger, another charismatic felid species, studies of ancient mitochondrial DNA have suggested a close relationship between the extinct central Asian Caspian tiger and the extant Amur tiger. This has allowed conservationists to discuss the translocation of Amur tiger stock to occupy the former range of the Caspian tiger with support from the World Tiger Summit. Similarly, if no examples of purebred Barbary lions can be found within the zoo population, there might be scope for restoration of the North African lion population using the closely related Indian lion." 

A genetic analysis of living lions and museum specimens confirms modern lions' most recent common ancestor lived around 124,000 years ago. 

Dr Barnett said, "Understanding the demographic history of a population is critical to conservation. This is particularly true for the lion which as a consequence of millennia of human persecution, has large gaps in its natural distribution and several recently extinct populations. We sequenced mitochondrial DNA from museum-preserved individuals including the extinct Barbary lion and Iranian lion as well as lions from West and Central Africa. We have identified deep, well-supported splits within the mitochondrial phylogeny of African lions." 

The lion had one of the largest geographical distributions of any terrestrial mammal during the Late Pleistocene, ranging from southern Africa through northern Eurasia to Central America. Widespread hunting and anthropogenic changes to lion habitat are continuing to reduce lion populations across their entire range. 

The research says: "From the DNA analysis, we identified four new mitochondrial haplotypes: one from North Africa, one from a suspected Barbary lion present in medieval London, one from Iran, and one from Senegal. Four of the six Barbary lions exhibited sequence identical to that of the extant Indian lion." 

"International bodies currently recognize only two lion conservation units: African and Asian lions. The data clearly show that Asian lions are nested within the diversity present in Central, West and North Africa. Of particular concern are the central African and western African populations, which may be close to extinction, with estimates of 800 lions in West Africa and 900 lions in Central Africa. The close phylogenetic relationships among Barbary, Iranian, and Indian lion populations are noteworthy given their considerable geographical separation. The restoration of the extinct North African Barbary lion has attracted the attention of conservationists both inside and outside North Africa," it added.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/...140748.cms
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Australia Richardrli Offline
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#18

Pckts, what makes you think Alexander and his men had the ability to bring a huge of lions over from Africa to India? The likely answer is that they didn't, and lions in India are the result of natural dispersal in prehistoric times. 
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Romania Jinenfordragon Offline
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#19
( This post was last modified: 04-19-2014, 05:36 AM by Jinenfordragon )

Valmik Thapar IMO is extremely nationalist and the biass goes hand in hand with it. Especially in his latest book. 
His entire theory is based on ''nothingness''.

He is like :
ThE` Alexader The Great made a succesful passive translocation on lions, a process that is ''almost'' impossible in the present modern  times to achieve. Not to mention that Pakistan and Afganistan aka Ol`Persia was field with Leo Persica at that times, a population of lions that maybe awaited for an Alexander to ''help''  them expand?!(expanding ...meaning a slight evolutionary step to the east in India).

One can only ''theorize'' that on his road back, Alexander The Great, while he was an avid hunter,  he pretty much got a taste of the bengal tiger  hunt... AND  he helped A LOT  with the establishment and ''signature'' of a new tiger sub-specie in Middle Asia....the Turanian/Perisan Tiger.


CASPIAN TIGERS? NAAAHHHHH.....ALIENS!

Valmik Thapar's latest book is laughable to say at least.
Is not even a debate.




 
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United States Pckts Offline
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#20

That is quite a theory and no offense. Valmik is a actual historian and wildlife biologist, you are nothing more than a interested fan, no offense.
For you to say Valmiks book is "laugahable" is the only thing that is "laughable"
Valmiks theories are based off of years and years of first hand expierence, data, eye witness events, and years of studying. He offers up actual proof, data and events to back his theories.

What process is impossible in modern times?
I know you don't mean the foreign introduction of species?
Since numerous species all over the world have been from foreign introduction. Hence the term "invasive species"
This has been accomplished from the largest cats in the world (tigers in ranthambhore and Panna) to the wild packs of wolves introduced in yosemite all the way down to cichlids and snakeheads released in the canals of florida. It is not hard to introduce a foreign species as long as that species has something that it can sustain life, in fact, some foreign species flourish in completetly different places. So if that is what you were implying, that is obviously wrong.


Richardli-Alexander absolutely 100% brought over lions and tons of other invasive species. Persian Rulers are recorded for having foreign hunts of lions who were given to them as gifts from other rulers. It is extremely easy to transport big cats to different places. How do you think ALL the european and american circuses got their big cats? Every circus performing big cat is a descendent of a once wild Tiger or lion. In fact, many trainers speak about the effects of their cats after they just get off the boat. How lots of them get sea sick and are very lathargic for the first couple of days until they acclimate, etc.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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#21

Translocations of wild animals was 100% posible in the old days. Romans transported and kept alive large number of lions and other animals, and in one ocasion, over 500 adult lions were captured and presented alive for a celebration of Julio Cesar (all of them, sadly, were killed in that particular "celebration"
*This image is copyright of its original author

It seems very weird that no lion fossils has been found in the Gir area and fossil evidence is equivocal and need more studies. At the moment, no lion fossil has been found and earlier studies can't distinguish between lion and tiger fossils. [img]images/smilies/sad.gif[/img]

Obviously, these two facts partialy suppor the claim of Valmik Thapar, and although lion-scientists (like Mena) denied this facts, WE can't ignore them if we want to found the truth.

I think that we most try to found more data to suport our claims, before dismiss them just because they don't fit in our previous conceptions.

Good debate by the way, I think that this conversation will bring very interesting data that will enrich our knowledge of the Indian lion, independently if the theory of Thapar results to be correct or incorrect.
 
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United States Pckts Offline
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#22

  At least two separate occasions of lion hunts are attested in our sources: the Sidonian lion hunt (in Phoenicia, 332 BC) and the lion hunt in Basista (a.k.a. Bazaira, Sogdiana, in 328/327 BC). Both events indeed match with periods in which parts of the army must have been relatively inactive: the long siege of Tyre, in between the battles of Issus and Gaugamela, and at the advent of the Indian campaign after subjugation of Central Asia.
*This image is copyright of its original author

Alexander and Craterus fighting a lion. Source: Jona Lendering's www.livius.orgThe Sidonian lion hunt is presumably represented in the well-known mosaic (found in Pella) showing Craterus and Alexander fighting a lion. The Sidonian hunt was originally commemorated by bronze sculptures made by Lysippus and Leochares (Plutarch Alex. 40; also Heckel, The Marshals of Alexander's Empire, 1992: p. 268-271). Alexander is said to have speared a great lion, so that an envoy from Sparta remarked the hunt had represented a battle between kings. Alexander's bodyguard Lysimachus also killed a lion of extraordinary size, but not before "his left shoulder had been lacerated right down to the bone" (Curtius, 4.14-17).In Basista, a large enclosed Persian game reserve, another unusually great lion charged Alexander. Lysimachus rushed forward to help his king out, but Alexander pushed his bodyguard aside, stating that he was quite capable of single-handedly killing the beast. Alexander subtly reminded Lysimachus of his Sidonian adventure - such a wicked sense of humor (Curtius, 4.16). Alexander then killed the animal in one stroke.
 These events gave rise to the popular story that Alexander had deliberately exposed Lysimachus to a lion. In Plutarch's Life of Demetrius Lysimachus exposes his scars to ambassadors "and told them of the battle he had fought with the beast when Alexander had shut him up in a cage with it" (Plutarch Demetr. 27). Curtius dismisses this "unsubstantiated" story as fake.Heckel suggests Pompeius Trogus was the Roman advocate of this tale. Lysimachus tried to help Callisthenes, who was caged by Alexander, and for this attempt he was punished by being locked up with the lion. Lysimachus killed the beast by tearing out its tongue (Justin 15.3). In Roman times the story of the lion cage had become one of the three prime examples of Alexander's cruelty.
 In March 2001 Martin Seyer published his dissertation on Royal hunting in Antiquity at the University of Vienna, Austria. Seyer emphasizes on the symbolic importance of lion hunts. As the lion "had been associated with monsters and demonical beings" the overcoming of these wild beasts confirmed the ability and the strength of the king to protect his subjects against enemies, rebellions and wars. The lion hunt became the ultimate allegory of legitimate power. Therefore, writes Seyer, not all representations of Alexander on a lion hunt need to refer to real events. Seyer: "Illustrations of this activity were an ideal instrument of propaganda within the frame of ideology."In an aristocratic society a lion hunt was a political event. This was true for the Assyrian and Achaemenid kings, as well as for the Argead house of Macedonia. According to Seyer nearly each of Alexander's successors "stressed the fact that he took part in a successful hunt together with the king. [They] used the subject of the Royal hunt to represent themselves as a fellow-combatant of Alexander." It is apparently no coincidence that Curtius, in describing Lysimachus' intervention during the Basista hunt, immediately adds that Lysimachus "subsequently gained Royal power". This incident echoes an older story about the Persian satrap Megabyzus: "Megabyzus, who on a hunt had saved king Artaxerxes I from a charging lion, was exiled for killing an animal before his master" (see: http://www.san.beck.org/EC6-Assyria.html).Hunting lions had always been a ceremonial Royal task. The Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser boasted that he had killed no less than 920 lions during his lifetime. For the Persian Achaemenids Royal hunting had become part of a long term planning process. Their big game was kept in large hunting reserves, like Basista, which until Alexander's arrival had been left untouched for four generations. But Alexander's lion killing record would not have come close to Tiglath-pileser's. Not by far.

http://www.pothos.org/content/index.php?page=lions


 He claims to have conquered 42 kings and peoples and wrote, "I carried away their possessions, burned their cities with fire, demanded from their hostages tribute and contributions, and laid on them the heavy yoke of my rule."The Assyrian ruler also claimed great expertise as a hunter who on one expedition killed over 900 lions and captured several elephants alive.
http://www.ushistory.org/civ/4d.asp

So it seems lions have been used for massive hunts, gifts and other cruel things for thousands of years.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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#23
( This post was last modified: 04-22-2014, 03:49 AM by GuateGojira )

In the chapter two of the book of Divyabhanusinh (An Oriental Patrimony) it is a great description of the hunting of lions in the east of Asia. He stated that ONLY the Egyptian worshiped the lion, Persia and Babylon don't. However, even this high place don't save them from the undiscriminated hunting. During the Babylonian times, the hunt of lions was a task only for the King, but latter in the Persian and other subsequent civilizations the pursuit of lions was relentless. Divyabhanusinh concluded that it took only 3,000 years of human domination of the environment to destroy Asia's lion. [img]images/smilies/sad.gif[/img]

Interestingly, Divyabhanusinh (2005) also stated that the old images and sculptures from the art of this time is the best form to learn about the morphology of the Asian lions, as they were amazingly accurate. It shows that they were not exceptional in size (smaller to medium size, compared with other African populations) and had great manes that in some cases run trough the belly, exactly like the Barbary lions. This support my theory that Barbary lions were of the same size than Indian and West-African lions.
 
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United States Pckts Offline
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#24

Look at the video just posted in the Indian Lion thread.
Those gir lions look to be identical to their african cousins in size and mane color. I am started to get curious about the actual differences between the two, morphologically.
Do you know what anatomical differences exist?
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-22-2014, 05:04 AM by GuateGojira )

(04-22-2014, 04:32 AM)'Pckts' Wrote: Look at the video just posted in the Indian Lion thread.
Those gir lions look to be identical to their african cousins in size and mane color. I am started to get curious about the actual differences between the two, morphologically.
Do you know what anatomical differences exist?

 
The "popular" knowledge states that the Indian lion is smaller than the African lion and this seems right as Indian lions average about 265 cm while African lions are about 274 cm. However, the few chest girths of Indian lions are slightly larger than those from Africa, but as the sample is too small, a reliable comparison is impossible.

On the body mass issue, modern Indian lions weigh no more than 190 kg (including stomach content), but in the old days they weighed more. Divyabhanusinh (2005) states that the heaviest male Indian lion recorded in history was of c.255 kg and measured c.285 cm (page 95). The figure of 306 kg quoted by Gerad Wood (1978) is incorrect as his source (Ali, 1927) made bad conversion of the measurements. This figure is about the same than the heaviest African lions in record, so we can conclude that in old days, Indian lions weighed the same than those from Africa but the surviving population from Gir weigh much less.

The mane issue is completely irrelevant. Indian lions have less mane, but this is just for the climate. In modern India, I have not found pictures of maneless lions while there are several ones in Africa, especially in the East of the continent. In captivity, Indian lions develop manes just like that of the Barbary. So, there is no difference in mane at all.

The belly fold is claimed to exist only in India, but that is not true. The Barbary lions have it and the lions from West-Africa also present the same characteristic. In fact, is practically impossible to distinguish, at first sight between an Indian or a Benin lion, to put an example. However, this is because these three populations belong to the same subspecies (Panthera leo leo). In other African populations (East and Southern), the belly fold is very rare or nonexistent.

Finally, the divided foramina in the skull is a very weird characteristic of the African lions, but it is not rare in the Barbary lions, some Bengal tigers and even some European cave lions. The best explanation about why it is so common in India is because these population is highly inbreed.

In summary, there is practically no difference, morphological or genetic, between the Indian lions and those from north Africa and West-Africa, but they have some differences with the East and Southern Africa populations, like a smaller size, relative lower body mass (modern times) and cranial characteristics. Finally, DNA suggest that all lions had a common origin in East Africa, but Asian lions separated from the main stream about 100,000 years ago, and after a great extinction of the lions from the Mediterranean area and the west of Africa, they repopulated the area and establish a new genetic form (Bertola et al., 2012).

Following the newest and most complete genetic study about lions at this time (Dubach et al, 2013), the taxonomy of modern lion (Panthera leo) is:
* Panthera leo leo - Asia, north and west Africa.
* Panthera leo melanochaita - Sub-Saharan region with two clades: a-East Africa and b-Southern Africa.
However, do to its higlty endangered situation, Indian lions should retain its clasification of P. l. persica just for CONSERVATION purposes.
 

 
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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#26
( This post was last modified: 04-22-2014, 05:38 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

The historical European lions should also belong to the Panthera leo leo subspecies, probably just a different clade from the Barbary lion and Asiatic lion.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 04-22-2014, 05:46 AM by GuateGojira )

(04-22-2014, 05:36 AM)'GrizzlyClaws' Wrote: The historical European lions should also belong to the Panthera leo leo subspecies, probably just a different clade from the Barbary lion and Asiatic lion.

 
I agree, as those specimens are normally classified in the group of the Persian lions. Sadly, in this case, we don't have a single skull or skin to work with. Pure modern lions (Panthera leo) get extinct from Europe without leaving a single evidence of they existence, apart from the reports in the classic literature. The descriptions of these lions is more poetic than realistic, completely different from the detailed descriptions of the Persians. The only thing that we know about European lions is that they existed some time ago, but nothing more. [img]images/smilies/sad.gif[/img]
 
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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(04-22-2014, 05:46 AM)'GuateGojira' Wrote:
(04-22-2014, 05:36 AM)'GrizzlyClaws' Wrote: The historical European lions should also belong to the Panthera leo leo subspecies, probably just a different clade from the Barbary lion and Asiatic lion.


 
I agree, as those specimens are normally classified in the group of the Persian lions. Sadly, in this case, we don't have a single skull or skin to work with. Pure modern lions (Panthera leo) get extinct from Europe without leaving a single evidence of they existence, apart from the reports in the classic literature. The descriptions of these lions is more poetic than realistic, completely different from the detailed descriptions of the Persians. The only thing that we know about European lions is that they existed some time ago, but nothing more. [img]images/smilies/sad.gif[/img]
 

 


This reminds me the case of Caspian tiger, where no fossil was left.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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Well, in fact, there are a few fossils of Caspian tigers, but all of them came from the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene. Check the tables of Kitchener & Yamaguchi (2010), in the region of Russia and the Caucasus:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Phylogeographic analysis with extant tiger subspecies suggests that less than 10,000 years ago the Caspian/Amur tiger ancestor colonized Central Asia via the Gansu Corridor (Silk Road) from eastern China then subsequently traversed Siberia eastward to establish the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East (Driscoll et al., 2009). Fossil evidence support the genetic analysis.

 
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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(04-22-2014, 06:04 AM)'GuateGojira' Wrote: Well, in fact, there are a few fossils of Caspian tigers, but all of them came from the Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene. Check the tables of Kitchener & Yamaguchi (2010), in the region of Russia and the Caucasus:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author

Phylogeographic analysis with extant tiger subspecies suggests that less than 10,000 years ago the Caspian/Amur tiger ancestor colonized Central Asia via the Gansu Corridor (Silk Road) from eastern China then subsequently traversed Siberia eastward to establish the Amur tiger in the Russian Far East (Driscoll et al., 2009). Fossil evidence support the genetic analysis.

 

 



Then i guess the Caspian tiger AKA the western Amur tiger must have colonized the Central-West Siberia as well.

And it is quite interesting that the modern Amur tiger got its ancestry traced back to the western part of Asia.

They must derive from a group of Wanhsien tiger isolated in the West-Central Asia during the last glacial period.
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