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The tiger's "sideburns"

Canada Saiya Offline
AKA LeopJag

Is it known why tigers have evolved their distinctive bushy sideburns (for lack of better term) of fur on the sides of the face and what purpose they serve? It appears most developed in the Sumatran subspecies and least so in tigresses of the Bengal and Indochinese. Have tigresses been shown to be more drawn to males with fluffier sideburns in the way lionesses are to male lions with bigger and darker manes?
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United States paul cooper Offline

I rarely see experts talk about it, either. Not sure the purpose, that would be interesting to look into. I wouldnt be able to guess as to why sumatran have longer ruffs (its called), or some tigers more than others.
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