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Wanhsien tiger ~

Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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#16

Since the East Asian continent is huge, thus it is totally plausible for the Wanhsien tiger subspecies to develop its own different clades within.

I wonder that could be the reason about the size disparity between the more commonly known southern population and the northern population.
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United States Polar Offline
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#17
( This post was last modified: 06-25-2016, 11:09 PM by Polar )

I want to revive this thread because I am very interested in the evolution of the tiger family. Was this "Wanhsien Tiger" larger than the extant Siberian Tiger of today?

I barely know anything about large felids in ancient times, apart from the machairodontines and nimravids (if you can call them felines).
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GuateGojira Offline
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#18

More to come on this, I have been working in a few comparisons.

About the Wanhsien tiger, all I can say is that the largest fossils came from dentition, with upper Pm4 and lower m1 been somewhat larger than the largest modern Bengal and Amur tigers.

However, overall, I estimated (previously) that the largest Wanhsien tiger was about the same size than the largest Amur-Bengal specimen recorded. However, on average figures, the Wanhsien tiger was probably larger than the average Amur-Bengal tigers.
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tigerluver Offline
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#19
( This post was last modified: 06-26-2016, 11:35 AM by tigerluver )

@Polar, I went through the Wahnsien tiger in detail in the freak felid thread. Soon (hopefully), the prehistoric felid section is going to revamped and I'll post all the info in species specific threads and your inquiries should hopefully be answered.

As a whole, the Wahnsien tiger is probably medium in size. The large dentition Guate mentions is a poor predictor of body size.
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United States Polar Offline
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#20

So I am guessing 500-600 pounds for the Wanhsien Tiger should be a good average estimate?
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GuateGojira Offline
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#21

Maybe a bad predictor of weight, but it is useful for body size, at some point, specially when we don't have other fossils. This is a common problem in Paleontology.

Contrary to the cave lion, the tiger dentition correlates very well with the skull length, which at the same time, is useful to estimate the head-body length.

Just in a raw manner, if we know that a tiger with a Pm4 of 37-39 mm can have skulls of c.380 mm, image how large can be one con Pm4 of up to 42 mm?  Wink
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GuateGojira Offline
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#22

(06-26-2016, 11:52 AM)Polar Wrote: So I am guessing 500-600 pounds for the Wanhsien Tiger should be a good average estimate?

I will guess that about 500 lb - 227 kg would be correct, which is more than modern Amur-Bengal tigers, with figures of 204 kg and 213 kg respectively (old and modern records).

Like Tigerluver said, dentition probably is not the best predictor of weight, however, like Dr Van Valkeburgh mentions, most of the mammal fossils consist only of dentition, and very few have some long bone or skull for comparison.

For example, we don't have to much problems in estimate the weight and size of the Ngandong tiger, because we know a complete skull and we have other complete long bones to compare with modern tigers. However, in China, most of the tiger fossils are just fragments of skulls and mandibles with (if you are lucky) some dentition. In this case, the formulas of Van Valkerburg or Legendre & Roth are the best that we have.

Personally, I trust more in Legendre & Roth, as some results that I have obtained with modern tiger dentition fit very well with the recorded weights.
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United States genao87 Offline
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#23

damn, so the Wanhsien Tiger only went as far as 227kg...
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India brotherbear Offline
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#24

227 kg - a 500 pound cat is no little kitty. Consider Andre the Giant or 'The Big Show'; we are talking about a huge cat. If 227 kg was their average weight, consider what might be their normal max!
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United States genao87 Offline
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( This post was last modified: 08-23-2016, 12:28 PM by genao87 )

(08-08-2016, 01:00 PM)brotherbear Wrote: 227 kg - a 500 pound cat is no little kitty. Consider Andre the Giant or 'The Big Show'; we are talking about a huge cat. If 227 kg was their average weight, consider what might be their normal max!


It is nothing for a tiger though.  Todays Bengal Tigers and Siberian Tigers (when Siberians were numerous) have no problems reaching this weight. 

The only beneficial distinction was that the Wanhsien Tiger had more muscular front legs/front quarters.  I guess he must of train to be a boxer...lol.

I hope there is some new fossil information from the Northern population that got wiped out...

i wonder if the Wanhsien Tiger looked bulky like this


*This image is copyright of its original author
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Netherlands peter Offline
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#26
( This post was last modified: 08-25-2016, 01:18 AM by peter )

(08-08-2016, 01:00 PM)brotherbear Wrote: 227 kg - a 500 pound cat is no little kitty. Consider Andre the Giant or 'The Big Show'; we are talking about a huge cat. If 227 kg was their average weight, consider what might be their normal max!

Over the years, I saw hundreds of captive big cats. In my eyes, an adult male lion or tiger of 400 pounds is an impressive animal. A 500-pound animal is very big. This is tiger Saetao (John Varty), who tipped the scale at 229 kg. (506 pounds):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Wild big cats not often exceed 500 pounds. A century ago, an average Amur male ranged between 475-490 pounds. Today, 420-430 pounds is closer to the mark. The heaviest wild big cats today are Indian tigers. Males probably average 440-460 pounds, but Nepal tigers could be as heavy as wild Amur tigers a century ago. The two heaviest males captured by researchers both exceeded 600-pound scales.

Although nothing is known about Ngorogoro, Kazirangha and a few other hotspots, an average adult male most probably would struggle to exceed 500 pounds in these regions as well. Mature males (6 years and over), however, are another story. In leopards, the differences between young adults and mature animals was significant. I expect an even more outspoken difference in lions and tigers.

This picture was posted by Eagle Raptor (AVA) some years ago. The male Amur tiger (in a facility in Blackpool, I thought) just exceeded 600 pounds: 


*This image is copyright of its original author
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United States genao87 Offline
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( This post was last modified: 08-24-2016, 11:01 PM by genao87 )

(08-24-2016, 01:41 PM)peter Wrote:
(08-08-2016, 01:00 PM)brotherbear Wrote: 227 kg - a 500 pound cat is no little kitty. Consider Andre the Giant or 'The Big Show'; we are talking about a huge cat. If 227 kg was their average weight, consider what might be their normal max!

Over the years, I saw hundreds of captive big cats. In my eyes, an adult male lion or tiger of 400 pounds is an impressive animal. A 500-pound animal is very big. This is tiger Saetao (Tiger Canyon, John Varty), who tipped the scale at 229 kg. (506 pounds):


*This image is copyright of its original author


Wild big cats not often exceed 500 pounds. A century ago, an average Amur male ranged between 475-490 pounds. Today, 420-430 pounds is closer to the mark. The heaviest wild big cats today are Indian tigers. Males probably average 440-460 pounds, but Nepal tigers could be as heavy as wild Amur tigers a century ago. The two heaviest males captured by researchers both exceeded 600-pound scales.

Although nothing is known about Ngorogoro, Kazirangha and a few other hotspots, an average adult male most probably would struggle to exceed 500 pounds in these regions as well. Mature males (6 years and over), however, are another story. In leopards, the differences between young adults and mature animals was significant. I expect an even more outspoken difference in lions and tigers.

This picture was posted by Eagle Raptor (AVA) some years ago. The male Amur tiger (Blakcpool, if not mistaken) just exceeded 600 pounds: 


*This image is copyright of its original author

I have to say I thought the average was 500 pounds for Bengal Tigers nowadays...so the average is 440-460 pounds...while Amurs are 420-430....while Nepal Bengal Tigers are almost averaging 490.   The other Bengal Tigers from the other regions,  no average has been set.   Strange then...seems to me the average depends on the region instead of the sub-species itself.    What I read about Lions from these threads and in the past AnimalvsAnimal forum...was that the majority of Lions average about 385 pounds....only like a couple of populations of the African Lion gets past 400.

Confused Tigerluver,  you mentioned the exception of mature males when it comes to these averages???


well anyway, the Wanhsien Tiger only slightly larger....i hope that GrizzlyClaws finds more huge individuals from the Northen area...it will conclude that at least this area allowed the Wanhsien to grow to its full potential.
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tigerluver Offline
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#28
( This post was last modified: 08-25-2016, 12:09 AM by tigerluver )

@genao87, for one, we now have two Pleistocene "Amur" tiger populations on record

I'll start with the new late Pleistocene records which date to around 35,000 yrs ago. The more females to males on Pleistocene tiger fossil record was proposed by Baryshnikov (2016, see attached) simply based on the size of the fossils. If you look through the tables in the paper you'll see that the dentition are around the range of the living tigress used for comparison. Is that a sure-fire conclusion? I'd say no simply because we can't remove the possibility that males tigers of the time were just relatively small. 

The living comparison tiger specimen tagged as ZIN 14997 from Turkestan, Central Asia, is about 180 kg based on its measurements. The vast majority of postcranial remains compared with this specimen are smaller, indicating most of these tigers are less than 180 kg. From that again, the author assumes the <180 kg specimens are generally female. Do note that the largest specimen in the entirety of the postcranial sample, based on a calcaneus (ZIN 37288-58), would be around 230 kg. 

This late Pleistocene tiger sample is okay in size, but almost surely would have missed the extremes in body mass. Again, there is the possibility that the dentition of this fossil tiger did not scale like that of modern tigers (which scales within itself quite weakly).

The sample that has been usually been referred to as the "Ancient Amur" is from Wahnsien, dated to about 800,000 yrs ago. These tigers would have been relatively quite primitive and likely more like the Amoy tiger than our modern Amur tiger. Remember, these specimens came before even the Trinil tiger. From these specimens, most were the same size as your modern Amur/Bengal. There metatarsal and metacarpals were more robust than modern tigers and even the prehistoric Sunda tigers, but the single humerus on record is not any more robust than modern tigers. There is also the possibility that Hooijer misidentified the metatarsal and metacarpals incorrectly, as it is the cave lion which has consistently showed to have very thick metapodials. Nonetheless, I doubt the possiblity is too strong. While a single humerus is bad to make a conclusion from, from what is available, we can't say the Wahnsien tiger was more robust than its modern relatives.  

To wrap, tiger size is very, very variable. The Sunderbans are your modern example. Perhaps it is this adaptability in its genome that allowed it to survive into present day, whereby if you think about, the vast majority of tigers (from the South China tigers all the way to Malay), have shrunk considerably.
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Netherlands peter Offline
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#29
( This post was last modified: 08-25-2016, 05:18 AM by peter )

GENAO


One has to see a 450-pound lion or tiger up close to get an idea of its size. Dunbar Brander (regarding tigers in the Central Provinces a century ago) and Stevenson-Hamilton (regarding Kruger lions in the same period of time) both underlined the impressive size of an average adult wild male tiger or lion. 

When reading articles or stories about the average weight of wild big cats, you always have to remember three things:

a - Many samples are smallish;
b - individual variability, as Tigerluver underlined in his post, is pronounced, especially in tigers, and
c - there are significant differences between age groups.

I'm not saying we know next to nothing about the size of wild lions and tigers, but small samples and significant individual (age-related) variation usually are good friends. Not seldom, they produce deception when cooperating. It wouldn't be difficult to get to a table that would even baffle those interested in big tigers. Although the table would be correct in itself, it would be a selection of large animals only. 


a - tigers

Reliable data on the size of tigers provided by experienced forest officers a century ago suggest that most wild male Indian tigers ranged between 350-550 pounds. These weights were not adjusted, but it most probably had little effect on the average because of the size of the samples (a large sample has small and large and gorged and non-gorged individuals).

It wouldn't be easy to describe an 'Indian tiger'. Tigers shot in the Sunderbans and the Naga Hills (very close to Myanmar) were decidedly smaller than elsewhere, whereas Himalayan tigers (Terai Arc, Nepal and Bhutan) were large. As a result of the pronounced local differences, many decided to use tigers shot in the former Central Provinces as 'typical Indian tigers'. In the days of Dunbar Brander, an average male in that region was 440 pounds and 9.4 'between pegs', but the 42 males of Dunbar Brander averaged 9.3 and 420 pounds. I prefer to use the information of Dunbar Brander because he provided details in his book, but his average could have been a bit low. The average I found after reading dozens of books is closer to 440 pounds, with some individuals well past that mark.  

Although I'm not aware of reliable information on the size of tigers in that region today, those who had the opportunity to see them think they could be a bit heavier than a century ago. If so, it's likely the range is a bit wider as well. Some of the males who featured in documentaries bottomed a 500-pound scale, but the exact weight wasn't known. Same in Nepal, where two males bottomed a 600-pound scale. This in particular is remarkable, because Nepal only has about 200 tigers.       

All in all, I get to unclear. It's not likely the situation will change in the near future. One reason is every capture is risky. You don't want to take risks when the number of tigers is as limited as it is today. 


b - Lions

You wrote wild male lions average about 385 pounds, which could be close to the mark. If you want to compare lions and tigers at the level of species, however, you'd have to find the average of (all) wild male tigers (of all subspecies) first. Not easy, but don´t worry as some gave it a try. They concluded lions are a bit heavier at the level of species. The reason is no small subspecies. At the level of subspecies, averages of male lions range between 360-430 pounds, whereas averages of male tigers range between 280-460 pounds. The deficit was reduced when four tiger subspecies disappeared, but Sumatran and Malayan tigers are quite a bit smaller than Indo-Chinese, Amur and Indian tigers.    

Male lions in southwest Africa are larger than male lions in other parts of Africa, but the differences are limited. In maximum size, they even overlap. The longest skull I measured belonged to a male from Ethiopia. At the level of subspecies, however, the differences are quite distinct. Skulls of male Kruger lions, averaging very close to 380,00 mm. in greatest total length, top the list, whereas the average greatest length of skulls of male Indian lions is closer to 340,00 mm. The average of both, just below 360,00 mm., could be very close to the real average of all wild males.

The average weight of Ngorogoro male lions could exceed 430 pounds, but there's no information on size. There's no doubt, however, that they're larger than other lions in Tanzania. Packer was sure. 


c - Pleistocene big cats

Many thousands of years ago, lions were common in most parts of Europe, parts of Russia and the USA. The fossils found strongly suggest they were 10-20% larger than lions today (referring to total length and skull length). If they had similar proportions as todays lions, they would have disproportionally heavier (well over 20%). I'm not so sure about the estimates I read, but there's no question that the difference in weight would have been significant. 

In his great book 'Der Tiger' (1983), Mazak concluded that most Pleistocene tigers were a bit smaller than Amur tigers. Although he based his conclusions on the size of Amur tigers a century ago (when males averaged 475-490 pounds), the fossils found suggested he could have been right. At that time. Trinil tigers (Java), however, were exceptional. Based on what was found, they compared to the largest Pleistocene lions.

The ideas about the size of Pleistocene tigers, however, could change in the near future. The reason is quite many tiger skulls have been found in central and northern parts of China in the last decades. Based on the photographs posted by Grizzly, they, to put it mildly, seemed to compare to the largest skull Mazak measured (383 mm. in greatest total length). Apart from length, they seemed (much) more robust.  

Mazak could have been right in that tigers seem to have developed in size in the last part of the Pleistocene and the early part of the Holocene, though. Although there's no direct and clear proof to get to this conclusion, tigers seem to respond faster to circumstances than, for example, lions. When faced with difficult conditions, they rapidly adapt by losing size. Sunderban tigers, for example, are tigers from central India. In a few centuries only, they, sizewise, developed into a cat not much larger than a Bali tiger. Tigers living in hotspots, on the other hand, could be even larger than Amur tigers seen a century ago. 


d - About lions and tigers in Asia

All in all, there are many unanswered questions on the development of both big cats. When reading everything I have on lions and tigers, I noticed something not discussed before.  

It´s a fact that lions occupied large parts of Asia not so long ago. According to Baryshnikov, lions resided near the Pacific coast of Russia. This is the same region now occupied by Amur tigers. The fossils found leave no doubt as to the general size of both big cats in that lions most probably were a bit larger. They also live in a pride.

As a result of their size and their way of life, it´s more than likely that lions would have pushed other big cats towards the fringes when they entered a region occupied by other cats. When they disappeared, other big cats got a new opportunity. Tigers responded by adding a bit of size. It is remarkable they, most likely, developed in this respect in the last part of the Pleistocene (and not before). Trinil tigers are the exception to this rule, but lions, as far as I know, never reached the region they occupied.

After reaching the size they have today (or, more accurate, a few centuries ago), tigers, perhaps, would have been able to defend the territory conquered, provided they would have been able to avoid the brotherhood. Forests and hills would do very nicely. It also is remarkable that lions, on the other hand, seem to have lost a bit of their size during this development (perhaps because large herds with large bovines were on their way out in that period and perhaps because of climat change). This perhaps is the reason why tigers making their home near the western and northern fringes of tigerland are decidedly larger than tigers living in regions without large competitors.

If true, new ideas about the size of stripes need to be developed. Sexual drive is important and so are climate and (the availability of) food, but tigers in Indian reserves suggest competition can´t be eliminated as a factor out of hand. When reading the reports and articles posted in the thread started by Apollo (´Big cats news´), one at times gets the idea it´s close to a battlefield in some Indian reserves.   

Anyhow. It´s just an idea, but I wouldn´t mind starting a debate.
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Canada GrizzlyClaws Offline
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#30
( This post was last modified: 08-25-2016, 07:46 AM by GrizzlyClaws )

Machairodus giganteus and Amur tiger

The Amur tiger's fang is 0.5 inch shorter but 0.5 inch wider, also considerably thicker.



*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author
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