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Skulls, Skeletons, Canines & Claws

Taiwan Panthera Offline
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(06-22-2020, 07:45 AM)peterThank you for your long and detail reply. I will search and read the article, old captive male Amur tiger in a Japanese zoo. If it is a Java tiger, out of the blue, I will keep it. It is a pity that I only little information(Indian tiger) from the man give me it, but if I have new information, i will supplement in here in the future.The following are my measurements, please(if where one need to measure extra, let me know) : Wrote: PHANTERA

In order to answer the questions, we need better pictures and accurate measurements. Here's an instruction. 

a - Photographs

1 - A photograph from the side showing the complete skull resting on a flat surface

2 - A photograph from the top down (a bit like the picture you posted, but better)

3 - A photograph from the occiput (the last part of the upper skull) 

4 - A photograph taken from the front (showing the teeth and the rostrum)

Try to reduce the angles, as they often result in distortion (and incorrect conclusions). When you take pictures of the occiput, remember it's about the shape of the occiput seen from above and from behind.   

b - Measurements

We need accurate measurements of the upper skull. In order to do it right, you have to remove the mandibula. Only use the upper skull. Every measurement has to be taken in a straight line from tip to tip: 

5 - A measurement from the tip of the maxillary bone (not including the incisors) to the tip of the occiput (greatest total length)

6 - A tip-to-tip measurement of the arches at the point of greatest width (zygomatic width)

7 - A measurement of the rostrum (the bone just above the upper canines)

In order to assist, I scanned the picture you posted and added numbers (1 = greatest total length, 2 = greatest width and 3 = rostrum width):


*This image is copyright of its original author
 

c - Conclusions for now

1 - The sagittal crest isn't straight. The skull has a lot of superfluous growths. The skull is asymmetrical and quite fragile. The upper canines are fragile as well. My guess is the skull belonged to a tiger born and raised in captivity, most probably a male. All sutures are closed, meaning the tiger was adult.  

2 - The shape of the nasal bones, the eye-sockets, the arches and, in particular, the occiput (relatively long, narrow and triangular at the tip) suggest the owner of the skull could have been a Java tiger.  

3 - Wild male Indian tigers average about 350 mm. in greatest total skull length, whereas wild male Java tigers average about 325 mm. A large male Java tiger could get close to the length of an average male Indian tiger.  

d - History

In order to answer all questions, contact the one who sold you the cast. Ask him to tell you anything he knows (what facility, when, subspecies, age, disease and photographs). The more you know, the better. If you know more, try to contact the director of the facility (or the keeper). 

As to the shape of the upper canines. In the tiger extinction thread, an article was posted about an old captive male Amur tiger in a Japanese zoo. The tiger had similar upper canines. I don't know when the article was posted, meaning you're on your own here (it's a long thread).   

Wild adult male Indian tigers (Panthera tigris tigris) have longer skulls than adult wild male Java tigers, but individual variation in wild tigers usually is quite pronounced. Skulls of captive tigers usually are shorter and, in particular, wider. In zoo cats, however, anything is possible.   

If you have time, measure the height (or depth). Place the skull on a flat surface and measure the distance between the bottom and the top in a straight line. If possible, also weigh the skull (lower and upper jaw separately). 

If it is the skull of a (large) Java tiger, my advice is to keep it.
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Taiwan Panthera Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-23-2020, 08:12 AM by Rishi )

@peter

Thank you for your long and detail reply. I will search and read the article, old captive male Amur tiger in a Japanese zoo. If it is a Java tiger, out of the blue, I will keep it. It is a pity that I only little information(Indian tiger) from the man give me it, but if I have new information, i will supplement in here in the future.The following are my measurements, please(if where one need to measure extra, let me know) 


*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


*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


*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: 06-24-2020, 06:33 AM by peter )

PHANTERA

Thanks for the new photographs. Although much better than those in your first post, they're not quite conclusive. Same for the measurements: better than before, but not all measurements were taken in the correct way. Here's a few more requests.

Greatest total length 

1 - If you take a photograph of the complete skull (like the first photograph you posted), the mandibula needs to be attached. It's about the shape of the upper skull and the mandibula. 

2 - The greatest total length is the measurement from the tip of the occiput to the tip of the premaxillary bone (the bone that has the incisors and the upper canines). It's about the length of the bone. This means the incisors have to be excluded from the measurement. When you measure the distance from tip to tip, the mandibula has to be removed. Apart from one exception (see below), you have to remove the mandibula when you take measurements of the upper skull.  

Occiput

3 - All photograph are ok, but we need to see the occiput from behind (a bit like the photograph of the teeth and the rostrum taken from the front).

Height

4 - I'm not sure, but it seems you measured the height of the upper skull only. When you measure the height of a big cat skull, however, the mandibula needs to be attached to the upper skull (the exception to the general rule in measuring big cat skulls).

Weight

5 - I know you don't have the skull, but a cast. In spite of that, my advice is to weigh the skull (upper skull and mandibula separately).  

Conclusions for now

a - As a result of the new photographs you posted, I was able to exclude a number of options. Panthera tigris sondaica (the Javan tiger) is now out. Same for Panthera tigris balica (the Bali tiger) and Panthera tigris sumatrae (the Sumatran tiger). Panthera tigris virgata (the Caspian tiger) and Panthera tigris amoyensis (the Chinese tiger) are out as well. That leaves Panthera tigris tigris (the Indian tiger), Panthera tigris corbetti (the Indochinese tiger) and Panthera tigris altaica (the Amur tiger). 

b - In determining skulls, size is a factor as well. This is the reason you need to measure the greatest total length of the skull in the correct way.  

c - Even when everything needed to get to a decent determination is there, determining the skull of a captive big cat isn't easy. The reason is skulls of captive big cats often quickly lose typical characters. In male skulls, the changes often are quite outspoken. 

Compared to skulls of their wild relatives, skulls of captive big cats are not as elevated at the orbit, wider, flatter and, more often than not, a bit shorter. The upper canines usually are shorter and not as robust. Although skulls of captive big cats often seem more bulky than those of their wild relatives, similar-sized skulls of wild tigers and lions are denser and heavier as a general rule.   

d - This is the reason we need additional information on the history of the owner of the skull. The more we know, the better.
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Taiwan Panthera Offline
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@peter 

It is unfortunately, I only have this cranium, lacking the mandible. So, Only the occiput from behind can be taken. I will update before tomorrow.
You said it might be a Panthera tigris tigris (the Indian tiger), Panthera tigris corbetti (the Indochinese tiger) and Panthera tigris altaica (the Amur tiger), which looks similar to the information I received. The range has narrowed down the field to more precise. Thank you!
I do not have the skull, So can't weight. 
Additional information on the history of the owner of the skull, may not be easy to ask, but I will try. If I have new information, I will share in here.
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Taiwan Panthera Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-26-2020, 11:44 AM by Panthera )

This unknown canine fossil from North-east China(upper left canine?). It's length is 112 mm totally, and the crown length is 40mm(inside) and 45mm(outside).

According to the size, and it has vertical groove(bleeding groove), so it is big cat, right? tiger? But after I read this section, I find Amur tiger's canine crown can reach 70mm, or maybe it is younger or female individual....; If this canine belong to leopard or jaguar, it's size seems slightly larger, but this is not necessarily.....   

I think because it is a fossil, we can’t only just look at it from current animal distribution perspective, but also should from the past. 
In the prehistory, It is very likely there were tiger(Amur tiger), leopard(here exist the largest subspecies, Amur leopard), jaguar(prehistoric jaguar may be slightly larger than the current size in America), cave lion, lynx, even the brown bear in there
(I also doubt it is bear canine because it's shape and the radian of crown, but this fossil has a unique trait of big cat, vertical groove).

Any ideas what it is?

PS. In my opinion, I think it is most likely to be a tiger or a bear, but I do not know how to distinguish the canine of both.

*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


*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: 06-24-2020, 11:20 PM by GrizzlyClaws )

(06-24-2020, 10:56 AM)Panthera Wrote: This unknown canine fossil from North-east China(upper left canine?). It's length is 112 mm totally, and the crown length is 40mm(inside) and 45mm(outside).

According to the size, and it has vertical groove(bleeding groove), so it is big cat, right? tiger? But after I read this section, I find Amur tiger's canine crown can reach 70cm, or maybe it is younger or female individual....; If this canine belong to leopard or jaguar, it's size seems slightly larger, but this is not necessarily.....   

I think because it is a fossil, we can’t only just look at it from current animal distribution perspective, but also should from the past. 
In the prehistory, It is very likely there were tiger(Amur tiger), leopard(here exist the largest subspecies, Amur leopard), jaguar(prehistoric jaguar may be slightly larger than the current size in America), cave lion, lynx, even the brown bear in there
(I also doubt it is bear canine because it's shape and the radian of crown, but this fossil has a unique trait of big cat, vertical groove).

Any ideas what it is?

PS. In my opinion, I think it is most likely to be a tiger or a bear, but I do not know how to distinguish the canine of both.

*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


*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


It was the lower canine of an Amur tiger.



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author




The age of the specimen could be anytime between late Pleistocene to early Holocene.

Would love to see @tigerluver to add more inputs from his expertise.
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Brazil Dark Jaguar Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-26-2020, 04:27 AM by Dark Jaguar )

Amazonic Dark Piranha

https://www.correiobraziliense.com.br/ap...ares.shtml


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Taiwan Panthera Offline
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@peter 
This is  the occiput from behind

*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author
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Taiwan Panthera Offline
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@GrizzlyClaws 

*This image is copyright of its original author



Thank you very much for your reply. It is tiger canine! I thought it is the upper canine, but seems not like at crown's radian.
But, by your pictures, I believe this is the lower canine of tiger. 

How the body size this tiger? 
Can estimate this skull length or body size by this crown length to compare with known data between crown and skull?
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Taiwan Panthera Offline
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( This post was last modified: 07-04-2020, 08:41 AM by Panthera )

A sharing of Panthera cf.tigris from Taiwan island

This is a Panthera (this is usually considered a tiger in Taiwan) from Chochen Fauna, Tainan, Southwest Taiwan, 0.96Ma-0.46Ma. The Following photos is from here. Earlier than the Toba eruption.
Location map link: Tainan, Taiwan

PS
(Where the tiger fossils were once found not only in Taiwan island's land itself, but also in seabed of Taiwan Straits between Penghu islands and Taiwan island(Penghu Channel) by fishing boat fishing work, but fossil in the site is younger than in Taiwan. The Radiometric dating age of other animals fossils from this Penghu fauna between 0.45-0.02 Ma. 
Location map link: Penghu Chanel)


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*This image is copyright of its original author
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United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-26-2020, 11:50 AM by tigerluver )

(06-26-2020, 08:50 AM)Panthera Wrote: @GrizzlyClaws 

*This image is copyright of its original author



Thank you very much for your reply. It is tiger canine! I thought it is the upper canine, but seems not like at crown's radian.
But, by your pictures, I believe this is the lower canine of tiger. 

How the body size this tiger? 
Can estimate this skull length or body size by this crown length to compare with known data between crown and skull?


I can estimate the size for you from the skulls I measured. Could you please measure the crown diameter lateromedially (LM) and antero-posteriorly (AP)? I've attached a guide on where and how to measure the diameter. Measure the AP diameter as shown. The LM diameter is the diameter perpendicular to that (width of the tooth). Also to have the in situ crown height, could you please measure the crown height from where I have marked the AP diameter.

*This image is copyright of its original author


Will try to have some more writeup on it tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!
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Taiwan Panthera Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-26-2020, 05:30 PM by Panthera )

@tigerluver 

Thank you for your help! Is the site like this? I am looking forward your reply Lol


About this lower canine measurements:

AP diameter is 30.66~31.00 mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


lateromedially (LM) diameter is 21.54mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


in situ crown height(inside) is 53.13mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


in situ crown height(outside) is 52.50mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


in situ crown height(apex to central of the AP diameter) is 51.44mm
*This image is copyright of its original author
 
---------------------------------------
PS. crown height (central of the alveolar margin to the apex) is 46.03mm

*This image is copyright of its original author
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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( This post was last modified: 06-27-2020, 02:09 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

(06-26-2020, 08:50 AM)Panthera Wrote: @GrizzlyClaws 

*This image is copyright of its original author



Thank you very much for your reply. It is tiger canine! I thought it is the upper canine, but seems not like at crown's radian.
But, by your pictures, I believe this is the lower canine of tiger. 

How the body size this tiger? 
Can estimate this skull length or body size by this crown length to compare with known data between crown and skull?


The Amur tiger canine in set of four that I showed you got 126 mm for upper and 110 mm for lower.

So the upper canine of your specimen should be around 130 mm, and it must belong to a 400 mm skull which was mostly like an adult male.

The specimen should live in a transitional period between the late Pleistocene and early Holocene based on its fossil coloration. So its stature could be somewhat more robust built than its modern counterparts.

Here is an even larger specimen that lived in a contemporary timeline with its lower canine being close to 130 mm.



*This image is copyright of its original author



Maybe the Amur tigers that lived 10,000 years ago got 400 mm skull for those average males, and over 450 mm for those exceptional specimens.
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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(06-26-2020, 11:31 AM)tigerluver Wrote:
(06-26-2020, 08:50 AM)Panthera Wrote: @GrizzlyClaws 

*This image is copyright of its original author



Thank you very much for your reply. It is tiger canine! I thought it is the upper canine, but seems not like at crown's radian.
But, by your pictures, I believe this is the lower canine of tiger. 

How the body size this tiger? 
Can estimate this skull length or body size by this crown length to compare with known data between crown and skull?


I can estimate the size for you from the skulls I measured. Could you please measure the crown diameter lateromedially (LM) and antero-posteriorly (AP)? I've attached a guide on where and how to measure the diameter. Measure the AP diameter as shown. The LM diameter is the diameter perpendicular to that (width of the tooth). Also to have the in situ crown height, could you please measure the crown height from where I have marked the AP diameter.

*This image is copyright of its original author


Will try to have some more writeup on it tomorrow. Thank you for sharing!


Interestingly, the layer of peatlands in China got fossil-rich for the tiger species, it did look like a founder effect phenomenon after the Toba eruption.

Maybe due the Toba eruption, the amount of peatlands in East Asia got geographically spawned in large number?
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United States tigerluver Offline
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(06-26-2020, 12:19 PM)Panthera Wrote: @tigerluver 

Thank you for your help! Is the site like this? I am looking forward your reply Lol


About this lower canine measurements:

AP diameter is 30.66~31.00 mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


lateromedially (LM) diameter is 21.54mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


in situ crown height(inside) is 53.13mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


in situ crown height(outside) is 52.50mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


in situ crown height(apex to central of the AP diameter) is 51.44mm
*This image is copyright of its original author
 
---------------------------------------
PS. crown height (central of the alveolar margin to the apex) is 46.03mm

*This image is copyright of its original author


Perfect, thank you! So I'll go through the important aspects of this beautiful specimen.


Bone classification:
As @GrizzlyClaws noted, this is a lower canine. The height of the crown enamel of the lower canine is quite a bit shorter than that of the upper canine. Here we see the relatively short crown and thus this is a lower canine.

Identity:
This is the hardest part in analyzing felid dentitions from the northern part of China and eastern Russia. I'll split this up to support for P. spelaea classification and P. tigris classification.

Support for P. spelaea:
  • The preservation is similar to that of Siberian peatland P. spelaea finds such as this skull and this lower canine:

*This image is copyright of its original author


*This image is copyright of its original author


Specifically, note the color preservation on the teeth, it's similar to what you have in this canine. If the locality of the canine is uncertain it is very possible it came from Siberia and thus is cave lion.
  • Next, the root of the canine. Often, ancient lion lower canines have thin roots. However, it is not impossible for them to have thick roots as seen in this European cave lion specimen. This is essentially not strong evidence for P. spelaea classification but rather evidence against ruling out P. spelaea as the owner. I made this very crude comparison in gimp with the canines scaled to about the same height.:

*This image is copyright of its original author

Support for P. tigris:
  • Referring back to the above image, it is more common for tigers to have wide roots than cave lions. Thus, probability-wise more likely to be a tiger.
  • The canine is actually quite tall. From the big cat family, tigers have disproportionately tall and often similarly wide canines. At 112.74 mm high and 31 m x 21 mm in diameter, the canine is larger than the largest P. atrox. So either the canine is from an exceptional cave lion or large tiger. By probability, it's more likely to be a large tiger than a one in thousands cave lion.
  • Finally, the coloration and preservation of the canine actually matches quite well with this Szechuan giant tiger skull. Focus on the patterns and coloration of the teeth and compare it to the enamel of the canine we are discussing:
 
*This image is copyright of its original author


The preservation is very similar to your canine.

So all in all, confusing information from the morphology. Next, we need to see if the locality gives as any clues.

Locality:
So the reason I transition to locality now is to discuss the sediment the specimen may have been found in. The reason the Siberian cave lion skull and Szechuan tiger skull have similar preservations is that they were likely preserved in peatlands. Note this map from Zhao et al. (2013):

*This image is copyright of its original author

You noted the canine is from northeast China, correct? Looking at this map, northeast China is filled with peatland. As such, we have a peat-stained canine. 

If the locality is correct, then we have ~10,000 year old (+/- 5,000 years) fossil from northeast China. The more specifically you could point out the location the more specific we could have an age ideally. Probability-wise, it's more likely to be a bit younger than 10 kya looking at the map and the fact that miners usually find fossils closer to the surface.

The reason this dating is important in identification is that per Stuart and Lister (2010), the cave lion disappeared from Siberia around 14 kya (14,000 years) and from Yukon around 11 kya. The majority of northeast China peatlands are younger than this age. Therefore, if the canine is 10 kya or younger, chronology indicates it is of a tiger. 

Size:
Finally, we can estimate the size. If we classify this canine as that of a tiger, I'll use my Amur tiger database for the estimation (average skull length 345 mm, average AP diameter canine 27 mm). Using the AP diameter of 31 mm, we get a skull length of around ~396 mm (383 mm-403 mm range). This would be a large tiger by modern standards as the largest skull measured by Mazak was 383 mm and the largest he read of 406 mm. By isometry, such a specimen should weigh around 260 kg give or take.

Thank you again for sharing!
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