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The Prehistoric Cat Thread- All cats minus sabercats



  • Registered Users Posts: 27,791 ✭✭✭✭odyssey06

    Intriguiginly, wetsuits with stripes are being trialied to reduce risk of shark attacks:

    "To follow knowledge like a sinking star..." (Tennyson's Ulysses)

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,984 ✭✭✭minktrapper

    Might answer the question as to why our native red squirrel is red.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    odyssey06 wrote: »
    Intriguiginly, wetsuits with stripes are being trialied to reduce risk of shark attacks:

    That takes advantage of what is known as aposematism, in which venomous or poisonous animals have strongly contrasting patterns or colors to warn potential enemies of their dangerousness. Examples would be the black widow spider's red markings, the coral snake's alternating bands of yellow, green and black, or the skunk's white stripes or spots- and in this case, the stripes of sea snakes which are extremely venomous, among others:


    I think it was originally the sea snake that inspired the stripey diving suit. Even sharks think twice before biting on a sea snake:

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,657 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    IIRC the only "green" mammal is the sloth. And that's just from the algae growing in its fur.

    Other vertebrates any colour you want.

    Also any excuse to post this
    The Oatmeal on why the Mantis Shrimp is my new favourite animal.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    Nobody ever remembers the Australian green possum:


    Oh yeah, it only looks green to our eyes :/

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  • Registered Users Posts: 18,855 ✭✭✭✭Del2005

    Victor wrote: »
    Much the same as deer hunters then. They wear orange coats and hats so that they are visible to other hunters, but not to deer.

    That's what always confused me about deer hunters. If deer can't see orange why do they wear camouflage clothes instead of all orange? No risk of being shot and completely invisible to deer, with the added bonus of being highly visible to search and rescue if necessary.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,984 ✭✭✭minktrapper

    Adam Khor wrote: »
    Nobody ever remembers the Australian green possum:


    Oh yeah, it only looks green to our eyes :/
    Never saw one of them in Ireland.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    Tigers are known to have lived in Japan in prehistoric times. This find apparently represents a tigress, of a size comparable to that of modern day Amur tigers.

    Although often overshadowed by sabercat and cave lion finds, the tiger (Panthera tigris), today's largest felid, is also known from fossils found all across Asia, including islands where it is absent today (including Japan, Borneo and the Philippines). The most impressive remains however come from mainland China and Russia, where gigantic specimens rivaling the largest cave lions have been found.


    These giant tigers have been estimated at 360-400 kg making them contenders for the title of largest known cat, along with Panthera atrox, Smilodon populator and other various pantherines and sabercats.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    Article is in Spanish.
    A new species of cat has been found in the Pit cenote, in northern Tulum (Mexico). According to researchers from the Institute of Prehistoric America, it could be a species endemic to the Yucatan penninsula that went extinct during the Ice Age.

    The animal has been named Panthera balamoides after the word "Balam", which is Mayan for a jaguar. It is assumed to have been a giant cat that lived around 10.000 years ago in the region (what is today the Yucatan penninsula).

    The specialized magazine Historical Biology: An International Journal of Palaeobiology, supported the discovery and suggests that "at least the northern part of Quintana Roo, if not the entire Yucatan penninsula, may have been ecologically isolated during the Pleistocene.

    The paper describing P. balamoides suggests a weight of about 100 kg for the living animal, and admits that there is no sure way to tell whether it's a pantherine (like the lion or the jaguar), or a machairodontine (a sabercat), but still they tentatively classify it under Panthera. They also suggest that it may have entered the cenote caves (formed by the impact of the asteroid at the end of the Cretaceous) to hunt, or maybe even use them as dens. The remains of other animals have been found in the caves, including those of sloths and peccaries that have also been classified as endemic forms.

    A subsequent study however challenged the identification of Panthera balamoides as a cat, suggesting it to be more likely a bear arm bone- perhaps from the 100-150 kg Arctotherium wingei, whose remains (including several skulls) have also been found at the caves. A bear identity would also explain what the paper on P. balamoides refers to as unusual robustness.

    Another possibility is that the arm bone came from Smilodon gracilis, a sabercat, whose remains have also been found in the caves.

    If P. balamoides turns out not to be a valid species, it would still not be the first case of mistaken identity regarding fossil finds at the cenote caves. Earlier, the skulls of the Arctotherium bears had themselves been mistaken for those of big cats before they were recovered from the depths of the cave.


    Also, remains of canids found in the caves had initially been identified as coyotes, but under more detailed analysis turned out to belong to Protocyon, an extinct, hyena-like dog. Both Arctotherium and Protocyon were only known previously from South America.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor
    The compact, gnarled and knobbly specimen looks like a root of ginger. In fact, it’s 17,000-year-old puma poo, and it contains the oldest parasite DNA yet recorded.

    The team of researchers behind the discovery say the finding not only confirms that the felines were prowling around the Andes towards the end of the last ice age, but reveals that they were infested with roundworm long before humans and their animals turned up.

    “The common interpretation that the presence of [this roundworm parasite] in modern American wild carnivores is a consequence of their contact with domestic dogs or cats should no longer be assumed as the only possible explanation,” the scientists write.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 8,551 ✭✭✭Rubecula

    in case you are wondering on my day job this is actual footage of me and a cheetah …. not really lol

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    Frozen cave lion cubs found to be different ages, died in different ways. Also, they are definitely cave lions and not lynx as had been suggested at some point (apparently due to one of them having a severed tail).





    The article also suggests that bringing the cave lion back to life would be easier than bringing back the mammoth, due to its close kinship to the modern lion.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    Giant lion remains found in Spain. Article is in Spanish.
    It lived 43.000 years ago, was a male, and weighed around 360 kg at the time of his death. These are some of the conclusions of the paleontological study on the cave lion (Panthera spelaea) found in a cave of Llanes in 2014 (...) the study finds that it was a bigger and more robust species than modern lions, although closely related. (...) It is a lucky find in that the remains are very well preserved and include a large part of the skull and the forelimbs, as well as vertebrae, ribs, and parts of the hindlimbs. (...)
    Along with the lion's skeleton were found the remains of other great carnivores, like a leopard and a wolf, showing that at the time the fauna was much richer than today, with abundant large herbivores to feed these great predators"



  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    The long journey of the puma from Africa to the Americas:

    Article is in Italian.
    Today, the puma, the jaguarundi and the cheetah are the only surviving species of the Puma linneage. The three species have in common a round skull, non-vertical, round pupil, 38 chromosomes and 30 teeth. The two first are more closely related to each other and ascribed to genus Puma, whereas the cheetah is more differentiated and thus kept in its own genus, Acinonyx

    The origins of the linneage are not completely clear. It was thought once that cheetahs originated in America, but now fossils of Acinonyx have been found in Southern Africa which date back to the mid-late Pliocene, around 4-3 million years ago.

    Other ancient cheetahs such as the giant Plio-Pleistocene Acinonyx pardiniensis, were very widespread in Africa and Eurasia but didn´t cross the Bering strait, which the ancestors of pumas did.

    Fossils of pumas have been found in central Asia (Mongolia and Georgia) from the late Pliocene, 3.6 million years, but even older fossils are known from Africa and believed to belong to ancient members of the Puma linneage which strongly suggests the genus appeared in Africa.

    At some point of the late Pliocene and/or early Pleistocene, ancestral pumas- including perhaps Puma (Viretailurus) pardoides, crossed into North America from Asia. Once there they gave rise to the Miracinonyx genus, which were cheetah-like and extremely fast runners, very similar to today's African cheetah. They also continued to spread southwards into South America. There, they gave rise to the modern puma (Puma concolor) and to Puma pumoides, the ancestor of today's jaguarundi (Puma jagouaroundi).

    After evolving in South America, both species of Puma (the puma and the jaguarundi) crossed back into North America and becoming established there, until climate change during the late Pleistocene caused the extinction of the megafauna around 11.000 years ago. Around 80% of the continent's large vertebrates went extinct, from giant ground sloths, mammoths and mastodonts, horses and camels, to large carnivores including cats, and the puma among them.

    The surprising genetic uniformity in most of today's North American pumas (aka cougars or mountain lions) shows that they are all the result of a re-colonization, from a population in central and eastern South America.


    Today, the puma is the widest ranging cat latitudinally, being found from the Canadian Yukon to southernmost Patagonia.


    Picture shows a skull of the ancient, Old World puma Puma pardoides, perhaps the common ancestor to modern pumas, jaguarundis, and the extinct cheetah-like Miracinonyx.

  • Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators Posts: 5,279 Mod ✭✭✭✭Adam Khor

    New genetic study on cave lions finds them to be separate species from modern lions, and apparently support the idea of regional linneages/subspecies already suggested by morphology.

    Among the interesting parts is that the cave lions from Alaska, Yukon and Yakutia seem to be generally smaller than their European counterparts.