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The Cave Lion (Panthera spelaea and Panthera fossilis)

United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 02-17-2019, 08:10 AM by tigerluver )

(02-17-2019, 07:09 AM)Ghari Sher Wrote:
(02-10-2019, 07:54 AM)tigerluver Wrote: A new study was published recently identifying P. atrox, S. fatalis, and P. spelaea in southern Canada not to far from the US border. While it is expected for P. atrox and S. fatalis to be found this far south, the same cannot be said about P. spelaea. The authors' reasoning was that the ulna was smaller than that of the La Brea tarpit P. atrox and the "posterior edge of the shaft appears to be straighter in lateral view" as compared to P. atrox. The specimen was previously assigned to S. fatalis.


*This image is copyright of its original author


The authors acknowledge the uncertainty but stick to their identification. Personally, P. atrox from other regions have consistently been smaller than the P. atrox of La Brea and I feel the reasoning based on the small size difference is not enough to attribute the bone to P. spelaea. Moreover, ulnae are very diverse both between and within taxa, a straight posterior contour is certainly not anything very telling. Moreover, note how P. atrox has the straighter contour than P. spelaea in this comparison:


*This image is copyright of its original author


What do you think?

hmmmmm.... are you quite sure that the ulna presented by Harrington (1969) is really a bona fide P. atrox? I'm pretty sure Alaska is P. spelaea territory.


Thanks for the reminder, I took a look at Barnett et al. (2009) and did notice that that work only finds the Alaskan lion to be P. spelaea so Harington's ulna would be reclassified to P. spelaea by this regard. Nonetheless, that goes back to the point that an ulna (an incomplete one at that) has too much variation to distinguish between relatively near identical species. The Barnett et al. (2009) also did not find any P. spelaea that close to the US-Canada border. It does have to be acknowledged that the sample size of Alaskan and southern Canadian fossils from the study is quite small, so the allopatry found by the study may not necessarily be reality. For instance, we know now S. fatalis existed deep in S. populator territory.
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Canada Wolverine Offline
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( This post was last modified: 02-18-2019, 12:06 PM by Wolverine )


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Discoveries of huge cave lions in cave Imanai (Ural) inspired Russian paleo-painter Velizar Simeonovski to create painting "Short Triumph". He describes the scene: "Early evening in March. Small group of hunters, late neandertals just killed small cave bear (Ursus rossicus), it was easy victim since the bear was exsausted by long hibernation":

https://www.oblgazeta.ru/news/15525/


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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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Waveriders' study about the Cave lions; Panthera fossilis max skull up to 21 inches, and Panthera spelaea up to 20 inches.



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Venezuela epaiva Offline
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(03-04-2019, 02:35 AM)GrizzlyClaws Wrote: Waveriders' study about the Cave lions; Panthera fossilis max skull up to 21 inches, and Panthera spelaea up to 20 inches.


@GrizzlyClaws
Huge incredible skulls, thanks for sharing 
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( This post was last modified: 03-04-2019, 05:53 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

(03-04-2019, 05:17 AM)epaiva Wrote:
(03-04-2019, 02:35 AM)GrizzlyClaws Wrote: Waveriders' study about the Cave lions; Panthera fossilis max skull up to 21 inches, and Panthera spelaea up to 20 inches.


@GrizzlyClaws
Huge incredible skulls, thanks for sharing 

IMO, it was probably a little bit inflated.

Since this fragmented humerus was probably the largest documented fossil for any Pleistocene lion, definitely outsized the 192 mm MT3 which was used to predict the largest specimen by Waveriders, and according to @tigerluver, this humerus could probably couple with a 500 mm skull max.

So the largest Pleistocene lion skull probably measured up to 500 mm.



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United States tigerluver Offline
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( This post was last modified: 03-14-2019, 06:17 AM by tigerluver )

With the chart of the M1 length of the lions of Imani cave, we may be able to estimate the length of this mandible:

*This image is copyright of its original author


The largest M1 from the following chart is 33.4 mm:

*This image is copyright of its original author


From the photo, the mandible length to M1 length ratio is just about 9. If we assume that mandible is the owner of the largest M1 from the above chart, it would measure about 300 mm as is. The complete mandible (incisors to condyloid process) is about 5% more so if complete it would have measured about 315 mm. The M1 length of 33.4 mm is also comparable to the 309.5 mm (M1 33.4 mm, GSL 458 mm) and 318 mm (M1 33.9 mm 467.5 mm) P. atrox specimens. The other teeth grouped by the authors to be male should also be from mandibles no less than 280 mm.

The faunal level of these specimens was dated to the middle of the Late Pleistocene, so at least by temporal classification, these would be considered P. spelaea. A morphological analysis would help to classify these specimens with greater confidence. Assuming these are what is considered P. spelaea, there is no reason to believe that the P. atrox of Rancho La Brea were any larger. Remember, like in modern big cats, there are clinal variations in size. The P. spelaea that were historically considered to be not as large may have simply represented a smaller sized clinal variation. 

Even in Europe, specimens comparable to the biggest of the P. atrox existed. From Alan Stout, here is a specimen a bit shorter than 300 mm from Romania (link):

*This image is copyright of its original author


All in all, post-cranial remains are skewed toward certain populations, perhaps falsely giving the perception of smaller size in P. spelaea. Perhaps the species underwent fluctuations in size through time as well.

Attached Files
.pdf   Gimranov2018_Article_AMassBurialOfFossilLionsCarniv.pdf (Size: 230.59 KB / Downloads: 5)
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( This post was last modified: 03-14-2019, 09:14 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

(03-14-2019, 06:16 AM)tigerluver Wrote: With the chart of the M1 length of the lions of Imani cave, we may be able to estimate the length of this mandible:

*This image is copyright of its original author


The largest M1 from the following chart is 33.4 mm:

*This image is copyright of its original author


From the photo, the mandible length to M1 length ratio is just about 9. If we assume that mandible is the owner of the largest M1 from the above chart, it would measure about 300 mm as is. The complete mandible (incisors to condyloid process) is about 5% more so if complete it would have measured about 315 mm. The M1 length of 33.4 mm is also comparable to the 309.5 mm (M1 33.4 mm, GSL 458 mm) and 318 mm (M1 33.9 mm 467.5 mm) P. atrox specimens. The other teeth grouped by the authors to be male should also be from mandibles no less than 280 mm.

The faunal level of these specimens was dated to the middle of the Late Pleistocene, so at least by temporal classification, these would be considered P. spelaea. A morphological analysis would help to classify these specimens with greater confidence. Assuming these are what is considered P. spelaea, there is no reason to believe that the P. atrox of Rancho La Brea were any larger. Remember, like in modern big cats, there are clinal variations in size. The P. spelaea that were historically considered to be not as large may have simply represented a smaller sized clinal variation. 

Even in Europe, specimens comparable to the biggest of the P. atrox existed. From Alan Stout, here is a specimen a bit shorter than 300 mm from Romania (link):

*This image is copyright of its original author


All in all, post-cranial remains are skewed toward certain populations, perhaps falsely giving the perception of smaller size in P. spelaea. Perhaps the species underwent fluctuations in size through time as well.


Is there any contemporary fossil nearby that has been documented to be larger than the giant 475 mm skull from Mokhnevskaya cave?

Compared to the giant humerus of Panthera fossilis from Central Europe to the giant tiger mandible, which specimen got an upper hand?
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