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15.12.2015 16:18 - Largest prehistoric animals Vol.1 Vertebrates part1 Mammals ch. 3 Carnivores - Felids,the great forerunners of modern big cats
Автор: valentint Категория: Забавление   
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Felids

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The heaviest felid ever was the Ngangdong tiger (Panthera tigris soloensis) with the largest specimen weighing in at 470 kg
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The Ngandong tiger (Panthera tigris soloensis), is an extinct subspecies of tiger which lived in what is now the Sundaland region of Indonesia in the Pleistocene epoch.

Fossils of P. t. soloensis have been found primarily in the village of

Ngandong, hence the common name. Only seven fossils are known, making study of the animal difficult. 

The few remains of P. t. soloensis known suggest that the animal would have been about the size of a modern-day Bengal tiger. However, other specimens suggest an animal larger than any of the modern tigers in Indonesia. Heltler and Volmer (2007) estimated that a large male could potentially weigh up to 480 kilograms, heavier than the Siberian tiger, one of the largest extant cats.

Other than the remains of P. t. soloensis, many other fossils from the same era have been discovered in Ngandong, like the proboscideansStegodon trigonocephalus and Elephas hysudrindicus, the bovines Bubalus palaeokerabau and Bos paleosondaicus, the extant perissodactylsTapirus indicus and Rhinoceros sondaicus, and a great variety of cervine species. Homo erectus fossils are also known from the area.

 

 

Another,much bigger than modern prehistoric tiger - Panthera tigris acutidens

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The Wanhsien tiger (Panthera tigris acutidens), is an extinct subspecies of tiger that lived in Asia from the late Pliocene until the middle Pleistocene. They were driven to extinction in the islands of Indonesia by another tiger subspecies, the Trinil tiger (P. t. trinilensis) and in Asia by yet another subspecies, the South China tiger (P. t. amoyensis)
The Wanhsien tiger is the earliest known extinct tiger subspecies, and populated a huge majority of Asia. It is larger than Siberian tigers, it grew to sizes of 2.8 metres (8 ft) in length, 120 centimetres (47 in) in height, and 250 kilograms (580 lb) to 400 + kilograms (900 + lb) in weight.


Giant ancestor of modern lions - Panthera leo fossilis image

Panthera leo fossilis, also known as the Early Middle Pleistocene European cave lion, is an extinct feline of the Pleistoceneepoch. It is generally considered to be an early subspecies of the lion (Panthera leo).

With a maximum head and body length of 2.40 meters, which is about half a meter longer than today"s African lions, Panthera leo fossilis was almost as big as the American lion from the Upper Pleistocene.

Many bone-fragments of this cat are known from Mosbach in Germany, a small village, which is now included in the town of Wiesbaden. A nearly complete skull was found at Mauer, near Heidelberg (Germany). In the same sediment as the lion-skull was a 550,000-year-old lower jaw from the early hominid Homo heidelbergensis. The oldest records of Panthera leo fossilis in Europe are from Isernia at Italy and are about 700,000 years old. A 1.75-million-year-old lion-jaw from

Olduvai in Kenya shows a striking similarity to those of Europe.

From Panthera leo fossilis derived the Upper Pleistocene European cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea), which is recorded for the first time about 300,000 years ago.


Panthera leo atrox

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 The American lion is an extinct animal that originated in North America and is believed to have colonized northwestern South America as part of the Great American Interchange. (However, the fossil remains found in Peru may actually correspond to large jaguars. The head-body length of the American lion is estimated to have been 1.6–2.5 m (5 ft 3 in–8 ft 2 in) and it would have stood 1.2 m (4 ft) at the shoulder. Thus, it was smaller than its contemporary competitor for prey, the giant short-faced bear, which was the largest carnivoran of North America at the time. The American lion was not as heavily built as the saber-toothed cat Smilodon populator, which may have weighed up to 400 kg (880 lb). Sorkin (2008) estimated the American lion to weigh roughly 420 kg (930 lb), but a more recent study showed an average weight for males of 256 kg (564 lb) and 351 kg (774 lb) for the largest specimen analyzed.

Around 100 specimens of American lions have been recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits, in Los Angeles, so their body structure is well known. The features and teeth of the extinct American lion strongly resemble modern lions, but they were considerably larger. The American lion is believed to be the largest subspecies of lion.

The American lion was initially considered a distinct species of Pantherinae, with the scientific name Panthera atrox (which means "cruel" or "fearsome panther" in Latin).Overall, the skull of this cat was most like that of the jaguar (P. onca). Some later authors accepted this view, but other experts considered the American lion most closely related to the African lion (P. leo) and its extinct Eurasian relative, the cave lion (P. leo spelaea or P. spelaea). Later paleontologists assigned the extinct American cat as a subspecies of P. leo (P. leo atrox) rather than as a separate species.

Cladistic studies using morphological characteristics have been unable to resolve the phylogenetic position of the American lion. At least one authority considers the American lion (along with the cave lion), to be more closely related to the tiger, P. tigris, citing a comparison of skull shapes; the braincase, in particular, appears to be especially similar to the braincase of a tiger. The American lion and Eurasian cave lion were also suggested to be successive offshoots of a lineage leading to an extant lion-leopard clade.A more recent study comparing the skull, jaw, and teeth of the American lion with other pantherines concluded it was not a lion and was distinct from all extant species. The authors suggested it may have arisen from pantherines that migrated into North America in the mid-Pleistocene epoch and gave rise to both American lions and jaguars (P. onca). Another morphological study grouped the American lion with P. leo and P. tigris, and ascribed similarities to P. onca to convergent evolution.

However, mitochondrial DNA sequence data from remains of the American lion from Wyoming and Alberta show it is a sister lineage to the cave lion, and likely arose when an early cave lion population became isolated south of the North American continental ice sheet. The most recent common ancestor of the two populations apparently lived about 340,000 (194,000–489,000) years ago The most recent common ancestor of the P. atrox lineage is estimated to have lived about 200,000 (118,000–246,000) years ago. The dates imply that genetic isolation from P. spelaea had begun by the time of the Illinoian glaciation, about 300,000–130,000 years ago (a spelaea population is known to have been present in eastern Beringia by that period, where it persisted until at least 11,925 ± 70 years ago. This separation was maintained during the Sangamon interglacial, about 130,000–110,000 years ago, as well as during later interstadials of the earlier glaciation and those of the following Wisconsinan glaciation, about 110,000–10,000 years ago. Boreal forest may have contributed to the separation during warmer intervals; alternatively, a species barrier may have existed. The study also indicates the present-day lion is the closest extant relative of P. atrox and P. spelaea (The same study shows Eurasian and Beringian cave lions to be genetically indistinguishable.

The earliest lions known in the Americas south of Alaska are from the Sangamonian Stage (the last interglacial). After that, the American lion spread widely from Alberta to Maryland to Peru. In North America, it has been found in more locations in the west than in the east, and as far south as Chiapas, Mexico. It was generally not present in the same areas as the jaguar, as the latter favored forests, while American lions preferred open habitats. Like many other large mammals, it went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. The most recent fossil, from Edmonton, dates to 11,355 ± 55 years ago. By then, the American lion was one of the abundant Pleistocene megafauna, a wide variety of very large mammals that lived during the Pleistocene. The most abundant remains have come from the La Brea Tar Pits.

In some areas of its range, the American lion lived under cold climatic conditions. They probably used caves or fissures for shelter from the cold weather. They may have lined their dens with grass or leaves, as the Siberian tiger does, another great cat that currently lives in the north.

Fewer American lions are in the La Brea tar pits than other predators such as saber-toothed cats (Smilodon fatalis) or dire wolves (Canis dirus), which suggests they may have been smart enough to avoid the hazard.American lions likely preyed on North American deer, horses (now extinct), camels, and tapirs, and American bison, mammoths, and other large, herbivorous animals. This species disappeared about the same time as other megafaunal species during the Quaternary extinction event, which wiped out many of the species on which the American lion would have preyed. Lion bones have been found in the trash heaps of PaleolithicAmerican Indians, suggesting human predation may have contributed to its extinction.

A replica of the jaw of the first specimen of American lion discovered can be seen in the hand of a statue of paleontologistJoseph Leidy, which is currently standing outside the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.

 


Giant Jaguar
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Jaguars today are rather smallish cats if compared to lions or tigers; they usually average 60-100 kgs (132-220lbs), and the largest males (recorded from South America) were around 150 kgs (330lbs), about the size of an African lioness. In prehistoric times, however, both North and South America were home to gigantic jaguars, belonging to the same species as modern day jags (Panthera onca) but much bigger.

These giant jaguars also had longer limbs and tails than jaguars living today; scientists believe that jaguars used to be open plain denizens, but that competition with American lions and other big cats forced them to adapt to more forested environments, where they developed their modern short-legged appearance.

Giant prehistoric jaguars were about the size of a fully grown lion or tiger, and were probably several times stronger, with a much stronger bite.

There are two subspecies of prehistoric giant jaguars known to date; Panthera onca augusta, from North America, and Panthera onca messembrina, from South America (also known as the Patagonian panther). Both of them were active during the Pleistocene period, but went extinct about 11.000 years ago, during the last Ice Age.

Giant Cheetah
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The Giant Cheetah (Acinonyx pardinensis), belonged to the same genus as our modern day Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus), and probably looked very similar, but it was much bigger.

At around 120-150 kgs (265-331lbs), it was as large as an African lioness, and was able to take on larger prey than its delicate modern day counterpart.
The Giant Cheetah was also adapted to fast running, but there’s some debate on whether it could run as fast as the modern Cheetah, due to its larger weight, which, according to some, probably made it somewhat slower.

Others, however, have suggested that the Giant Cheetah, having longer legs and bigger heart and lungs, was probably able to run as fast, or even faster, than the cheetah does today – that’s over 115 kph (72mph)! The Giant Cheetah lived in Europe and Asia (from Germany and France to India and China) during the Pliocene and Pleistocene epochs; it went extinct during the last Ice Age. Due to its living in colder environments than modern day Cheetahs, it is possible that the Giant Cheetah had longer fur and perhaps a lighter coloration.

 

 

 


 





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1. valentint - Въпрос от съставителя
07.04.2016 22:54
Не разбирам защо тази статия е значително по-четена от останалите и бих бил благодарен ако някой от прочелите я сподели личното си предпочитание.Ако интереса е заради самите големи котки,не виждам защо да не направя един обширен обзор за произхода и еволюцията им,противопоставянето им едни на други и битките им за доминация на върха на хранителната верига.Валентин
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