Panthera pardus spelaea

Panthera pardus spelaea

Panthera pardus spelaea, European ice age leopard, Late pleistocene leopard

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Panthera pardus spelaea

Panthera pardus spelaea, sometimes called the European Ice Age leopard or Late Pleistocene leopard, is a fossil leopard subspecies, which roamed Europe in the Late Pleistocene. The youngest known bone fragments date to about 32,000 to 26,000 years ago, and are similar in size to modern leopard bones.

Appearance

The European Ice Age leopard is thought to have resembled a snow leopard or Persian leopard in fur pattern. Its skull was medium-long and its characteristics are closest to modern Persian leopards. The only known depiction of this leopard in the Chauvet Cave shows a coat pattern similar to that of modern leopards. It is unclear if the spots were organised in larger rosettes like in modern Persian leopards. In contrast to modern leopards, the belly of the depicted animal is unspotted white. Fossils of small female leopards can sometimes be confused with large male lynxes. Leopards from the cold phases (glacials) of the Late Pleistocene are usually larger than those from the warm phases (interglacials). As in modern leopards, there was a strong sexual dimorphism, with males being larger than females.

Geography

References

1. Panthera pardus spelaea Wikipedia article - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panthera_pardus_spelaea

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