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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - A - THE TIGER (Panthera tigris)

Netherlands peter Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-15-2019, 09:44 AM by peter )

(07-14-2019, 02:05 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: I made this thread (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-tigers-...awan-japan) to talk about tigers in places where we wouldn't see them nowadays, such as Borneo and Palawan (Philippines), and partly considering that I didn't have all the information that was posted here about the mystery of whether or not tigers, which are known to have occurred in Borneo in prehistoric times, survived there up to recent or modern times, with @phatio having adding interesting images of fangs and skins here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-on-the-edge-of-extinction-a-the-tiger-panthera-tigris?page=146).

Good initiative.

This thread, however, also has info about the Bornean tiger. I posted about Borneo tigers and so did Phatio. The problem is I don't quite know where. These long threads really need indexes.

When you found new info, you could post in this thread as well. The reason is this thread has info on tiger evolution. It also has many views, meaning readers can start from this thread. Prevents long searches. You can direct those interested in specifics to the new thread.

My guess is Tigerluver has a few things to say about tigers in Borneo. He's quite busy at the moment, but you never know.
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( This post was last modified: 07-16-2019, 10:47 AM by peter )

ON JAGUARS, LEOPARDS, LIONS, TIGERS, SKULLS, AVERAGES AND EXCEPTIONS

I followed the debate about jaguars, leopards and skulls with some interest. The reason is I measured a number of skulls of both cats. Poster 'Luipaard' invited me to join the debate. He also asked me post a few skull photographs. Although a bit short of time, I decided to contribute.

a - The debate

What I read, suggests the controversy could, at least partly, be a result of mixing up perspectives (referring to averages and individual variation). As jaguars living in regions with decent conditions severely outaverage leopards living in similar conditions, those involved in the debate should perhaps focus on individual variation.

What I have (on skulls) and saw (referring to zoos, facilities, circuses and a few wildcaught jaguars in Surinam) strongly suggest that individual variation is more pronounced in leopards than in jaguars. Same for sexual dimorphism. I've seen male jaguars dwarfing females, but at the level of averages leopards top the table.

Individual variation often is more pronounced in large subspecies than in small subspecies. For this reason, I propose to focus on large subspecies of both big cats.

Luipaard said there is some overlap in the department of skulls. More accurately, he said exceptional skulls of male leopards living in regions where leopards grow to a large size could compare to skulls of average-sized male jaguars living in regions where jaguars grow to a large size.

The question is if he has a point. The answer is it depends on the perspective.

If we use elevation (height at the orbit), weight, zygomatic width, rostrum width and the length and diameter of the upper canines as indicators, the answer is no. If we use condylobasal and total length as indicators, the answer is yes. Exceptional leopard skulls can be as long as average-sized skulls of male jaguars living in regions with good conditions.

This regarding absolutes. Now for the relatives.

Reliable data say adult male jaguars of large subspecies are a bit longer than adult male leopards of large subspecies in head and body. Seen from the perspective of leopards, jaguars seem to be about 10% longer. In weight, however, the difference is outspoken. Male jaguars of large subspecies average 95-105 kg., whereas male leopards of large subspecies average 60-65 kg., maybe a bit more in some regions. Seen from the perspective of male leopards of large subspecies, male jaguars of large subspecies are at least 50% heavier.

In the skull department, the differences between adult male leopards of large subspecies (about 240-245 mm.) and adult male jaguars or large subspecies (about 290 mm.) also is significant (about 20%). Using the info we have (see above), one could say male jaguars of large subspecies, compared to male leopards of large subspecies, have relatively long skulls for their head and body length and be right.

However.

Individual variation in male leopards of large subspecies (referring to head and body length, weight and skull length) seems to be more outspoken than in jaguars. Some male leopards of large subspecies are about as long (referring to head and body length) and heavy as as an average-sized male jaguar of a large subspecies. Not seldom, exceptional male leopards seem to be somewhat 'overskulled'. Using exceptional male leopards as an indicator of relative size, one could say (some male) leopards have relatively longer skulls than an average-sized male jaguar of a large subspecies and be close. 

b - Skull photographs - a large male leopard and an average-sized male jaguar side by side 

In 2012, I visited the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart twice. On both occasions, I was there for a week to measure and photograph skulls of big cats. Poster 'Wanderfalke', living close to Stuttgart, assisted when he had time. He's the one who made the photographs.

The Staatliches Museum had 7 jaguar skulls. All skulls belonged to wild jaguars. The 3 male skulls were from Surinam, Argentina and Bolivia. The skull from Surinam, although short and not as heavy as the others, had the most massive upper canines. In this respect, it compared to many lion and tiger skulls. I selected the Bolivian skull for the photograph, because it is the longest (279,27 mm.). 

As a result of a lack of time, I wasn't able to measure all leopard skulls. Of the 34 skulls I measured, 24 were male skulls. Of these, 12 belonged to leopards shot in what was then German East Africa (Tanzania today). The longest is 221,47 mm. in greatest total length. Of the 12 others, the skull of a leopard from the western part of Central Africa is the largest. That skull, collected a long time ago, has a greatest total length of 243,94 mm.

Here's a photograph showing the longest male jaguar skull (right) and the longest male leopard skull next to each other:


*This image is copyright of its original author
   

Different angle:


*This image is copyright of its original author


The skull of the male jaguar, missing a part of the right arch, is wider (188,34 mm. versus 149,51 mm.) and more elevated at the orbit (147,20 mm. versus 110,02 mm.). The rostrum is significantly wider as well (81,24 mm. versus 59,81 mm.). As a result, the skull of the male jaguar is almost twice as heavy (0,970 kg. versus 0,585 kg.). The skull of the male jaguar was cleaned (cooked), whereas the skull of the leopard was not. The real difference in weight, therefore, is even more outspoken. Most of the canines of the leopard, on the other hand, are missing.

I have to add that the skull of the male leopard was heavier than all other leopard skulls, whereas the skull of the male jaguar wasn't the heaviest I saw. The skull from Argentina, although a bit shorter, was 0,997 kg.

Based on what I have, I'd say that skulls of leopards from the western part of Central Africa are more robust than skulls of leopards from other parts of Africa. They're a bit lower at the orbit, but often have relatively large mandibulas and heavy teeth.

Most unfortunately, I never saw leopard skulls exceeding 250 mm. in greatest total length in European natural history museums. They seem to be few and far between.

c - The jaguar skull compared to similar-sized skulls of tigresses and lionesses

Compared to skulls of 9 wild lionesses from Tanzania (greatest total length 274,66-299,91 mm. and 130,60-147,70 mm. at the orbit), the jaguar skull is a bit shorter and more elevated at the orbit. The lionesses, however, have wider (range 179,99-201,20 mm.) and heavier (range 0,799-1,134 kg.) skulls. In rostral width, there is not much difference between the lionesses (75,75-82,13 mm.) and the male jaguar (81,24 mm.). The upper canines of the lionesses (38,33-47,98 mm.) are shorter, but about as robust (range 19,98-24,70 mm.). Most of the lionesses, however, were quite old when they were shot, which would have resulted in a lot of wear. Skulls of captive lionesses (n=3) are longer, much wider and heavier.

Compared to skulls of 6 tigresses from southeast Asia (n=2, wild), Sumatra (n=3, captive) and Java (n=1, wild), the skull of the male jaguar is a bit shorter, not as wide and narrower at the rostrum. The upper canines just about compare for length and width at the insertion, but the skull of the male jaguar is a bit heavier.

Skulls of 4 'Indian' (one was from Gwelia, but there are no details about the others) tigresses (2 wild and 2 captive adults) were longer (285,03-308,54 mm., n=3), wider (190,67-214,46 mm., n=4), about as elevated at the orbit (139,50-151,80 mm.) and a tad heavier (0,912-1,194 kg.). The upper canines of the tigresses were a bit longer (49,55-58,65 mm., n=3) and, apart from 1 exception (25,14 mm.), not quite as thick at the insertion (21,25-21,85 mm.). The tigresses had a wider rostrum (range 81,37-91,43 mm.).

Skulls of male Sumatran tigers (1 young adult and 1 adult, both captive) are longer (294,80-312,28 mm.) and wider (207,34-217,55 mm.). In elevation (143,10-148,70 mm.), the difference is limited. The upper canines of the young adult male tiger are longer (61,04 mm.) and more robust (25,75 mm.). The Sumatrans also have wider rostrums. In weight, however, the difference is limited (skulls of captive big cats usually are not a robust as skulls of their wild relatives).  

Skulls of male tigers from Java (I saw the skull of 1 wild adult and 1 old male captured as an adult) are larger in all respects. Skulls of male Sumatran tigers are about 1 inch longer than skulls of male jaguar of large subspecies (averages), but there is some overlap.   

This is not true for wild male jaguars of large subspecies and wild male lions from Tanzania. Skulls of male Tanzanian lions are significantly longer (range 350,86-372,26 mm.), wider (range 230,61-248,0 mm.) and more elevated at the orbit (range 171,20-174,40 mm., n=3). The skull of the youngest of these 3 is the heaviest. Unfortunately, the mandibula is missing. The Tanzanian male lions I saw were shot before 1914. 

Skulls of captive Tanzanian lions (n=4) are as long or longer (the longest is 382,98 mm.) and quite a bit wider at the arches (238,39-269,76 mm.), but less robust and not as heavy (1,416-1,800 kg., as opposed to 1,915 and 2,080 kg.). Same for the upper canines (long, but less robust). All skulls I saw strongly suggest that captivity has a profound effect on lions.

d - Measurements

All measurements in this post were taken from skulls in the Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde Stuttgart. They were measured in the room of Dr. D. Mörike, a very-well informed and friendly host. She answered all questions I had, and I had many. Immediately after my second visit in July 2012, she retired. A great pity, as Dr. D. Mörike is loaded with knowledge.  

Here's a few photographs taken by 'Wanderfalke': 

d1 - Some of the skulls I measured:


*This image is copyright of its original author


d2 - In the exhibition room:


*This image is copyright of its original author
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( This post was last modified: 07-19-2019, 01:12 PM by peter )

WILD ANIMALS TRAFFICKING - THE DETAILS 

A few days ago, Kingtheropod posted a newspaper article in the modern tiger weights thread. The article is about a Hanoi woman arrested for cooking tiger bones at home. She had 2 tigers in her fridge.

When I tried to find a bit more, I stumbled upon an interesting article in The Guardian about an organisation involved in wild animals trafficking. 

The article, which has specific information, isn't about one species in particular: all wild animals are fair game.

Remember the photograph of a poacher sitting next to a rhino shot in South Africa posted some years ago? The organisation discussed in the article was involved in that one as well.

The article is concluded with an overview of the most important players. If you want know why trafficking still is continuing, read that part in particular.  

The Guardian is a reliable source. The article was published on September 26, 2016:    

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/26/bach-brothers-elephant-ivory-asias-animal-trafficking-network
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This may sound self-contradictory, but I nevertheless found something interesting, as I mentioned here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-bigcats...9#pid84849). Despite the fact that urbanisation would pose a threat to the natural environment, converting the habitats of tigers into towns or cities for instance (https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/susta...n/1046971/), considering the fact that rural people are at the forefront in the conflict of wildlife and mankind, it seems that a shift from rural to urban living may reduce the likelihood of conflict between rural people and wildlife, according to Sanderson et al. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar...via%3Dihub, who in turn were quoted by a number of newspapers such as Asian Scientist (https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/01/i...-survival/) and Mongabay (https://news.mongabay.com/2019/02/urbani...udy-finds/)), except that the threat to tigers and wildlife would then shift to the urban people, so like I would say, ultimately people should have less children so that the global birth rate becomes less than the death rate, so that our large, expanding population stops increasing and decreases, and hopefully, that is on the way, since the global growth of the human population is generally cooling, with the exception of Africa and Oceania (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/).
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( This post was last modified: 07-24-2019, 06:44 PM by peter )

(07-19-2019, 01:11 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: This may sound self-contradictory, but I nevertheless found something interesting, as I mentioned here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-bigcats...9#pid84849). Despite the fact that urbanisation would pose a threat to the natural environment, converting the habitats of tigers into towns or cities for instance (https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/susta...n/1046971/), considering the fact that rural people are at the forefront in the conflict of wildlife and mankind, it seems that a shift from rural to urban living may reduce the likelihood of conflict between rural people and wildlife, according to Sanderson et al. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar...via%3Dihub, who in turn were quoted by a number of newspapers such as Asian Scientist (https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/01/i...-survival/) and Mongabay (https://news.mongabay.com/2019/02/urbani...udy-finds/)), except that the threat to tigers and wildlife would then shift to the urban people, so like I would say, ultimately people should have less children so that the global birth rate becomes less than the death rate, so that our large, expanding population stops increasing and decreases, and hopefully, that is on the way, since the global growth of the human population is generally cooling, with the exception of Africa and Oceania (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/).

Yes, I saw an optimistic and interesting speech of Ullas Karanth (in NY?) saying the same.

According to Ullas Karanth, things are developing according to plan in the Western Ghats. That, however, doesn't mean conflicts between tigers and humans always are settled with a fine only. Every now and then, tigers breaking rules are captured or killed by rangers or locals.

The problem is tigers and humans just don't mix. The best way to protect tigers and humans is to seperate them completely. Not easy in a densely populated country like India, but things, largely as a result of the policy of Ullas Karanth, seem to look more promising than a few decades ago.      

The male below, at about six years of age, was found in Nilgiris. They didn't find any signs of poison, but tigers are still poisoned every now and then in India. His bulk largely was a result of death:    


*This image is copyright of its original author


Recent research says tigers in Thailand, most of India and Russia are much the same size (referring to total length measured 'over curves'), but tigers in India and Nepal are heavier. The reason is the they inhabit are quite healthy, meaning they're able to hunt large animals. This is not the case in Thailand and Russia, but the Russians are working on it and there will be a new large reserve in northeastern China soon.
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https://www.researchgate.net/publication...c/download
Wisdom of third eye
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( This post was last modified: 07-24-2019, 01:32 PM by Rishi )

(07-19-2019, 01:16 PM)peter Wrote:
(07-19-2019, 01:11 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: This may sound self-contradictory, but I nevertheless found something interesting, as I mentioned here (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-bigcats...9#pid84849). Despite the fact that urbanisation would pose a threat to the natural environment, converting the habitats of tigers into towns or cities for instance (https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/susta...n/1046971/), considering the fact that rural people are at the forefront in the conflict of wildlife and mankind, it seems that a shift from rural to urban living may reduce the likelihood of conflict between rural people and wildlife, according to Sanderson et al. (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/ar...via%3Dihub, who in turn were quoted by a number of newspapers such as Asian Scientist (https://www.asianscientist.com/2019/01/i...-survival/) and Mongabay (https://news.mongabay.com/2019/02/urbani...udy-finds/)), except that the threat to tigers and wildlife would then shift to the urban people, so like I would say, ultimately people should have less children so that the global birth rate becomes less than the death rate, so that our large, expanding population stops increasing and decreases, and hopefully, that is on the way, since the global growth of the human population is generally cooling, with the exception of Africa and Oceania (https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/).

Yes, I saw an optimistic and interesting speech of Ullas Karanth (in NY?) saying the same.

Let's hope he's right, as we don't want to see more photographs like the one below (Nilgiris). This tiger was poisoned:


*This image is copyright of its original author

Apparently worse... #1,728
"Everything not saved will be lost."

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( This post was last modified: 08-06-2019, 03:27 AM by peter )

INDIA HAD 2900-3000 TIGERS IN 2018

I found this today on the site of the Dutch National Broadcasting Company (NOS). This means it's considered big news.

The title is 'Number of tigers in India doubled in a period of 12 years'.

Use the translator (the article is in Dutch) and enjoy some good news. 

The article has 2 videos. Modi features in one of them:   

https://nos.nl/artikel/2295605-aantal-tijgers-in-india-in-12-jaar-tijd-verdubbeld.html

Well done, India!

Same, of course, for Nepal, Thailand and Russia.
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Forward from (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-tigers-...1#pid88981), I have noticed something about the fossils discovered in the Philippine island of Palawan, which might affect the issue of whether or not the tiger was there, even if to a minor degree. Firstly, let's start with a description of Palawan, before talking about what I noticed about the fossils.
 
Palawan is that narrow yet noticeably sized island in the southwest of the Philippines, near the Greater Sunda Island of Borneo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/tamaratiu/5854493319https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Greater_sunda_islands.png 

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


Image of Palawan by Lonely Planethttps://www.lonelyplanet.com/philippines/palawan

*This image is copyright of its original author


Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/652/ 

*This image is copyright of its original author

 
Not only is Palawan close to Borneo, they are thought to have been connected in prehistoric times, judging from the molecular phylogeny of rodents of the family Muridae (including house mice and Old World rats), though there is no geographical evidence to support this, so it could be that their masses were greater in those times, which meant that the Balabac Strait between them was narrow enough for tigers to swim from Borneo to Palawan: https://books.google.com/books?id=JmSsNuwMAxgC&pg=PT219&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=palawan&f=falsehttp://macrocosm-magbook.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-evidence-of-ancient-tigers-in.htmlhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018208002113?via%3Dihub 

*This image is copyright of its original author

 
The fossils are two articulated phalanx bones, possibly from the same toe, besides a distal segment of a basal phalanx (ICWM-2376) of the 4th or 5th digit of the manus or peswhich were excavated amidst an assemblage of other animal bones and stone tools in Ille Cave near the village of New Ibajay in the province of El Nido, in the northern part of Palawan. One bone (IV-1998-P-38239) was a full basal phalanx of the second digit of the left manus, and the other (IV-1998-P-38238) was the distal portion of a subterminal phalanx of the same digit and manus. With the former bone having a greatest length of 46.44 mm (1.828 inches), and the latter having a medio-lateral width of the distal end of 16.04 mm (0.631 inches), for example, their measurements were similar to those of Malayan and Indian tigers. The other fossils were identified as being of long-tailed macaques, deer, bearded pigs, small mammals, lizards, snakes and turtles: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018208002113?via%3Dihub 

*This image is copyright of its original author

 
Ille Cave, north Palawan: https://pia-journal.co.uk/articles/10.5334/pia.308/ 

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


A potential prey of the tiger, the Palawan bearded pig (Sus ahoenobarbus), a different species to the Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus): https://www.zoochat.com/community/media/...us.177240/
*This image is copyright of its original author


Scenario 1: The tiger subfossils were imported from elsewhere
 
From the stone tools, besides the evidence for cuts on the bones, and the use of fire, it would appear that early humans had accumulated the bones. Additionally, the condition of the tiger subfossils, dated to approximately 12,000 to 9,000 years ago, differed from other fossils in the assemblage, dated to the Upper Paleolithic. The tiger subfossils showed longitudinal fracture of the cortical bone due to weathering, which suggests that they had post-mortem been exposed to light and air. Tiger parts were commonly used as amulets in South and Southeast Asia, so it may be that the tiger parts were imported from elsewhere, as is the case with tiger canine teeth which were found in Ambangan sites dating to the 10th to 12th centuries in Butuan, Mindanao: https://books.google.com/books?id=JmSsNuwMAxgC&pg=PT219&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=tiger&f=falsehttps://books.google.com/books?id=e-hyDgAAQBAJ&pg=PA80&sa=X&redir_esc=y#v=onepage&q=tiger&f=false 
 
Scenario 2: The tiger migrated to Palawan from elsewhere
 
On the other hand, the proximity of Borneo and Palawan also makes it likely that the tiger had colonized Palawan from Borneo in the Middle Pleistocene, about 420,000 – 620,000 years ago, during periods in which relative sea levels decreased to their lowest, at circa −130 m (−430 ft), by the expansion of ice sheets. Considering the ability of tigers to swim, it is possible that the tiger crossed the Balabac Strait when the distance between the islands of Borneo and Palawan was much less than today, during the Middle and Late Pleistocene, before the Last Glacial Maximum circa 18,000 years ago: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018208002113?via%3Dihubhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/223800396_Palaeoenvironments_of_insular_Southeast_Asia_during_the_Last_Glacial_Period_A_savanna_corridor_in_Sundaland, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277379101001019?via%3Dihubhttps://www.nature.com/articles/nature03975

Piper et al.: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018208002113?via%3Dihub

*This image is copyright of its original author


12 non-volant mammals in Palawan have close relatives in other islands of the Sunda Shelf, including Borneo. Thus the Palawan is considered to be the northeastern part of the biogeographic region of the Sunda Islands. It is believed that Palawan had a landmass of approximately 100,000 km² (39,000 miles²), when the sea was 120 metres (390 feet) lower than at current levels during the Last Glacial Maximum, and that the climate was dry and cool compared to now, with open woodland mostly constituting the vegetation, except perhaps for a few savannahs. Palawan was inhabited by a number of arboreal and terrestrial animals, such as pigs and deer, as indicated by an archaeozoological study of Ille Cave: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018208002113?via%3Dihubhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/255591467_The_mammals_of_Palawan_Island_Philippineshttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00142213 
 
At the end of the Pleistocene, the Balabac Strait widened due to the amelioration of the climate and subsequent rise of the sea level. The widening of the strait would have isolated the Palawan tigers and narrowed their available territory. The rise in sea level was such that almost 90% of Palawan got inundated, and its total landmass reduced to less than 12,000 km² (4,600 miles²), by around 5,000 years ago. Moreover, in the early Holocene, closed canopy rainforest would have replaced the open seasonal woodland and savannah. As indicated by the Terminal Pleistocene archaeozoological record from Ille Cave, climatic and environmental change, besides predation by humans, put pressure populations of deer, which were likely important resources for the tiger. The number of deer thus declined after 5,000 years ago, and before the start of historical records. To put it simply, a significant decrease in habitat and food resources, isolation from other populations by increasing sea levels, and possibly hunting by humans likely caused the extinction of the Palawan tiger population, just as these or similar factors threaten existing populations of tigers. To date, no evidence exists for the tiger surviving in Palawan beyond 12,000 years ago: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0031018208002113?via%3Dihubhttps://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0277379105001617?via%3Dihubhttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2FBF00142213 
 
As mentioned by The Philippine Business and News, if the tiger wasn't native to Borneo or Palawan, then why would natives there use foreign animals for their rituals? https://thephilbiznews.com/2019/07/05/environment-feature-sumatra-tigers-in-palawan/ 
 
As it is, the case of the 2 Palawanese tiger toe-bones being found in Ille Cave amongst the fossils of other animals, which were likely collected by humans, somewhat resembles the case of 9 claws or toe bones of Upper Pleistocene Eurasian cave lions (Panthera spelaea or Panthera leo spelaea) from roughly the same period (the Upper Paleolithic or Pleistocene, around 16,000 years ago), which were found in La Garma Cave in Spain, amongst the fossils of other animals, including horses and goats, and were likely to have been used by early humans for rituals, and it is not like cave lions did not occur in the Iberian Peninsula: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/27/science/cave-lion-pelts-caverns.html 

The area within the La Garma cave system where the cave lion claws were found, credit: Pedro Saura

*This image is copyright of its original author

 
8 of the 9 cave lion toe bones found in the Upper Paleolithic cave site, credit: Marian Cueto

*This image is copyright of its original author
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( This post was last modified: 08-04-2019, 12:48 PM by BorneanTiger )

Forward from (https://wildfact.com/forum/topic-indo-ch...5#pid89195), bad and good news for the Malayan tiger: 

1) 1 of 2 tigers that had been on the loose died from a viral infection: https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2...l-disease/

*This image is copyright of its original author


2) Thanks to rampant poaching, the number of tigers in Belum-Temenggor Forest has declined from 60 to 23 over a period of 7-8 years, raising fears of extinction: https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/...gor-forest

3) Trust fund "Save the Malayan Tiger" fund gets a financial boost of 46,800 Malaysian Ringgit from the Malaysian Conservation Alliance for Tigers (MYCAT): https://www.nst.com.my/news/nation/2019/...cial-boost
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( This post was last modified: 08-07-2019, 02:27 PM by peter )

BIG CAT SKULLS

a - Introduction

The article below (see the link at the bottom) was posted before, but not in this thread. Although some of the info on size is incorrect (leopard skulls can reach a greatest total length of 280 mm., and are not, as is stated in the article, limited to 200 mm.), the information on the differences between skulls of big and small cats is largely correct. Same for the information on the differences between lion and tiger skulls.    

The scaled photographs showing skulls of different species next to each other are interesting, as they enable you to see the main differences between different species at a glance.

b - Lion and tiger skulls

Compared to lion skulls, tigers have relatively short faces and a relatively narrow os frontalis. The tiger is the only cat of which the rostrum is widening towards the teeth. Whereas lion skulls are generally large and robust in all departments, tiger skulls seem to be adapted to a more specialized way of hunting in that they seem reinforced near the rostrum (canines) and the occiput, where muscles used to bite and drag are attached.  

Although some male tiger skulls of large subspecies (P.t. altaica, P.t. tigris and P.t. corbetti) compare to male lion skulls for greatest total length (355 mm. and over in greatest total length), most are a bit shorter, more rounded and turned downward. They have shorter 'snouts' and mandibulas, but more or less compare for zygomatic width. Most tiger skulls have (relatively) longer and more robust upper canines. In order to accomodate large canines, tiger skulls usually are more vaulted and strengthened near the rostrum.

c - Skull publications

Most articles in which skulls feature are based on skulls that ended up in natural history museums in Europe, the US, Japan, Russia and China. Most unfortunately, most of them only have skulls from some regions. In European natural history museums, it isn't easy to find skulls of wild tigers from southeastern Asia (P.t. corbetti), southern and central China (P.t. amoyensis), northeastern Asia (P.t. altaica) and central and western Asia (P.t. virgata).  

Those who published about tiger skulls not seldom used limited samples. Would a larger sample result in different conclusions? Not likely, but my guess is the range (referring to measurements) would be wider. That guess is based both on new information and a number of photographs of wild tigers.

d - Wild tigers with large skulls

d1 - Russia

Although skulls of male lions of large subspecies are a bit longer (averages), skulls of captive male Amur tigers have the longest upper canines and the widest rostrums of all big cats. By a margin, I can add. Although they are a bit smaller than their wild relatives, my guess is it wouldn't be different in wild Amur tigers.

Here's 3 photographs of wild Amur tigers with wide rostrums and 1 photograph of a skull of what seems to have been a young adult male. That tiger was poached. His skull has the longest upper canines I saw.   


*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


d2 - Nepal

Some years ago, I bought a book written by a former hunter who later accomodated would-be hunters in the western part of Nepal. He wrote male Nepal tigers have large skulls and shortish tails as a general rule. Here's 2 photographs of large males and 1 photograph showing the skull of the famous Sauraha tiger.

Apart from the photograph, nothing is known about the skull of the Sauraha tiger. I'm quite sure it isn't in a natural history museum:


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author


d3 - Northern India

A century ago, Nepal male tigers had about 4 inches in total length on male tigers shot in northern India. The reason was tigers in Nepal were not often hunted. In northern India, they were hunted most of the year every year for decades. 

Today, tigers are protected in India. Tigers in northern India could be the largest wild big cats today. Although there's no good information on the size of tigers in that part of India, some males seem out of this world.   

Skulls of captive adult male Amur tigers are longer than those of captive adult male Indian tigers (the labels I saw said they had true Indian tigers in European zoos half a century ago), but skulls of Indian tigers are a bit more massive. With 'massive', I'm not referring to zygomatic width (most captive big cats have wide skulls), but to general appearance and (relative) weight.

Amur tiger skulls compare to overgunned battle cruisers, whereas Indian tiger skulls compare to battle ships. The guns are as large or a bit smaller, but the ship is able to take more damage. 

Indian tiger skulls are more vaulted, more rounded and a bit more dense. The reason is Indian tigers hunt larger animals. More strain resulted in dense skulls. Wild Amur tigers, apart from deer, hunt wild boars and quite a few bears. Adult wild boars (Ussuri wild boars are the largest in the world) and female brown bears are agile and powerful. Furthermore, they can take a lot of damage. In order to decide a struggle, Amur tigers developed wide rostrums and long and strong canines.

Trainer Daniel Rafo had (mixed) Amur tigers and true Indian tigers. Every now and then, he had to accept a fight to release tensions as the Indians and the Amurs didn't get along. In his opinion, Indian tigers had more endurance. The Amurs, however, were bigger and knew a fight would be short.

This regarding captive tigers. In wild tigers, things seem to be rather different in that tigers from central and northern India, compared to wild Amur tigers, seem about as large. Furthermore, they're heavier. 

Skullwise, the difference seems to be limited as well. The tigers below all have large and massive 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


d4 - Northeastern India

A century ago, male tigers shot in northeastern India, averaging about 9.8 in total length measured 'over curves', were a bit shorter than those shot in northern India and, in particular, Nepal. Information provided by the Maharajah of Cooch Behar (as well as some others), however, suggests they, skullsizewise, were right up there. I'm not sure about the absolutes, but in relative terms tigers in northeastern India seem to have very heavy skulls.

This male featured in a National Geographic documentary some years ago:  


*This image is copyright of its original author


Another heavy-skulled male from Kaziranga:


*This image is copyright of its original author


This male was killed in a fight. His body is inflated as a result of death, but his skull was big no matter what:


*This image is copyright of its original author


d5 - Large tigers compared to humans

It's always difficult to judge the size of a tiger from a photograph. In most old photographs, hunters positioned themselves behind the tiger. Not seldom, it resulted in giants. Jim Corbett, however, could be trusted in the department of size. The Bachelor of Powalgarh, measured three times by Corbett and his sister, was 10.7 in total length measured 'over curves'. It wasn't the only tiger exceeding ten feet 'over curves' he saw, but it most probably was the most robust: 


*This image is copyright of its original author


There are no hunters in zoos, meaning photographs with tigers often are more realistic. That, however, doesn't mean tigers are smaller than hunters said. In European zoos, Amur tigers in particular often are impressive animals. Most of them are longer, taller and more robust than their wild relatives today.

The Duisburg zoo tiger was 320 cm. in total length measured 'between pegs'. His head and body length was 210 cm. and he was 110 cm. at the shoulder while standing. In his prime, he was estimated at 280-300 kg. According to V. Mazak (1983), his head length was 50 cm.

I don't know what happened to his skull, but chances are it was well over 400 mm. in greatest total length, as the skull length of 2 male Amur tigers with a head length of 40-45 cm. in the Prague zoo was over 370 mm. Both tigers were measured by V. Mazak himself. Same for the skulls:


*This image is copyright of its original author
   
 
One has to see an Amur tiger with a head length of 400-500 mm. up close to understand how large a head of that size really is. Not seldom, captive Amur tigers with large heads are robust in all departments.

Some years ago, the Odense zoo had a tiger that could have compared to the Duisburg zoo tiger. Tiger 'Igor' was known for his size. Although not as long as a few other captive Amur tigers, he was tall and robust. In his prime, 'Igor', judging from what I read, ranged between 250-300 kg. At that weight, he wasn't obese. Big would be the right word, I think: 


*This image is copyright of its original author


e - Conclusion
 
What I'm saying is things, regarding skulls of wild tigers, are a bit unclear. According to R. Pocock (1929) and V. Mazak (1983), the largest tiger skulls are about 15 inches (381 mm.) in greatest total length. Recent information, however, says exceptional tiger skulls well exceeded 390 mm. in greatest total length. Photographs of the skull of the Amur tiger shot in the Köln zoo (after he had killed a keeper) discussed some time ago (this thread) suggest it was over 16 inches (406,40 mm.) in greatest total length. All photographs in the article had scales and they were not made by a hunter, but by a professional.  

Skulls of exceptional wild male tigers in Russia and northern India, if anything, could be a tad longer. I measured well over a hundred skulls of Sumatran and Javan tigers and distinguished between captive and wild tigers. Skulls of wild tigers were longer, more elevated and denser than skulls of captive tigers. My guess is it isn't different in other tiger subspecies.   

Skulls of that size, however, are few. I never saw one. Skulls of male lions, on the other hand, not seldom reach a greatest total length of 15 inches. The longest I measured was just over 16 inches in greatest total length, but it wasn't the most robust or heaviest lion skull I saw.   

One wonders why biologists only very seldom visit natural history museums in western, northeastern and southeastern Asia.                

f - Link to the article on skulls

https://animalalmanacblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/09/pantherinae-skull-and-larynx-comparison/
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( This post was last modified: 08-07-2019, 11:15 AM by RakeshMondal )

(08-06-2019, 08:51 PM)peter Wrote: Captive tiger 'Igor' from the Odense zoo was known for his size. My guess is he compared to the Duisburg zoo male Amur tiger. That one was 320 cm. in total length measured 'between pegs' and estimated at 280-300 kg. in his prime:


*This image is copyright of its original author

That tiger is enormous no doubt about that. That guy's head can literally fit in the tigers mouth.

The tiger is really cute awww.
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(08-07-2019, 07:57 AM)RakeshMondal Wrote:
(08-06-2019, 08:51 PM)peter Wrote: Captive tiger 'Igor' from the Odense zoo was known for his size. My guess is he compared to the Duisburg zoo male Amur tiger. That one was 320 cm. in total length measured 'between pegs' and estimated at 280-300 kg. in his prime:


*This image is copyright of its original author

That tiger is enormous no doubt about that. That guy's head can literally fit in the tigers mouth.

The tiger is really cute awww.

I could say something similar for this tiger (I presume a Bengal tiger) at Nandan Van Zoo in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh State, Central India, which was photographed by Indian PM Narendra Modi: https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-new...WWYOL.html, https://twitter.com/narendramodi/status/...8015864668https://twitter.com/KeshavKhajuria9/stat...WWYOL.html

*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
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(08-07-2019, 07:57 AM)RakeshMondal Wrote:
(08-06-2019, 08:51 PM)peter Wrote: Captive tiger 'Igor' from the Odense zoo was known for his size. My guess is he compared to the Duisburg zoo male Amur tiger. That one was 320 cm. in total length measured 'between pegs' and estimated at 280-300 kg. in his prime:


*This image is copyright of its original author

That tiger is enormous no doubt about that. That guy's head can literally fit in the tigers mouth.

The tiger is really cute awww.

Igor was big, in zoo advertisement it was told to have been 250 kg, about 551 lbs.

http://tourcom.dk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/OdenseZoo_Aarsrapport2013_4KORR_NY.pdf

One article: https://www.fyens.dk/odense/Usaedvanligt-besoeg-Slingrende-tiger-scannet-paa-retsmedicinsk/artikel/2394807

There are also articles from same time, saying, that 300 kg or almost 300 kg, it variates in different medias. Difficult to say, but when zoo has it printed by themselves, it looks like some reporters have been more accurate than others.

Anyway, big boy.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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(08-07-2019, 01:01 PM)Shadow Wrote:
(08-07-2019, 07:57 AM)RakeshMondal Wrote:
(08-06-2019, 08:51 PM)peter Wrote: Captive tiger 'Igor' from the Odense zoo was known for his size. My guess is he compared to the Duisburg zoo male Amur tiger. That one was 320 cm. in total length measured 'between pegs' and estimated at 280-300 kg. in his prime:


*This image is copyright of its original author

That tiger is enormous no doubt about that. That guy's head can literally fit in the tigers mouth.

The tiger is really cute awww.

Igor was big, in zoo advertisement it was told to have been 250 kg, about 551 lbs.

http://tourcom.dk/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/OdenseZoo_Aarsrapport2013_4KORR_NY.pdf

One article: https://www.fyens.dk/odense/Usaedvanligt-besoeg-Slingrende-tiger-scannet-paa-retsmedicinsk/artikel/2394807

There are also articles from same time, saying, that 300 kg or almost 300 kg, it variates in different medias. Difficult to say, but when zoo has it printed by themselves, it looks like some reporters have been more accurate than others.

Anyway, big boy.

I saw a video in which Igor, by then well past his prime, was treated for a problem with his teeth. Although large, he didn't seem 300 kg. In his prime, however, he could have been quite close. I'll try to find the video.
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