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‘Mystery big cats’ in the Peruvian Amazon: morphometrics solve a cryptozoological mystery

‘Mystery big cats’ in the Peruvian Amazon: morphometrics solve a cryptozoological mystery
‘Mystery big cats’ in the Peruvian Amazon: morphometrics solve a cryptozoological mystery
Two big cat skulls procured from hunters of Yanachaga National Park, Peru, were reported as those of cats informally dubbed the ‘striped tiger’ and ‘anomalous jaguar’. Observations suggested that both skulls were distinct from those of jaguars, associated descriptions of integument did not conform to this species, and it has been implied that both represent members of one or two novel species. We sought to resolve the identity of the skulls using morphometrics. DNA could not be retrieved since both had been boiled as part of the defleshing process. We took 36 cranial and 13 mandibular measurements and added them to a database incorporating nearly 300 specimens of over 30 felid species. Linear discriminant analysis resolved both specimens as part of Panthera onca with high probabilities for cranial and mandibular datasets. Furthermore, the specimens exhibit characters typical of jaguars. If the descriptions of their patterning and pigmentation are accurate, we assume that both individuals were aberrant.
2167-8359
e291
Naish, Darren
6cd448f6-99cc-4c45-93d1-bdd24ee3d281
Sakamoto, Manabu
8c3bf78a-005d-47b9-a836-3eeb3911f059
Hocking, Peter
f5230c98-492b-4e0c-95fb-08d1769d17c3
Sanchez, Gustavo
49fb9c27-3c3e-4d2a-81c1-e6a6f711424a
Naish, Darren
6cd448f6-99cc-4c45-93d1-bdd24ee3d281
Sakamoto, Manabu
8c3bf78a-005d-47b9-a836-3eeb3911f059
Hocking, Peter
f5230c98-492b-4e0c-95fb-08d1769d17c3
Sanchez, Gustavo
49fb9c27-3c3e-4d2a-81c1-e6a6f711424a

Naish, Darren, Sakamoto, Manabu, Hocking, Peter and Sanchez, Gustavo (2014) ‘Mystery big cats’ in the Peruvian Amazon: morphometrics solve a cryptozoological mystery. PeerJ, 2, e291. (doi:10.7717/peerj.291).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Two big cat skulls procured from hunters of Yanachaga National Park, Peru, were reported as those of cats informally dubbed the ‘striped tiger’ and ‘anomalous jaguar’. Observations suggested that both skulls were distinct from those of jaguars, associated descriptions of integument did not conform to this species, and it has been implied that both represent members of one or two novel species. We sought to resolve the identity of the skulls using morphometrics. DNA could not be retrieved since both had been boiled as part of the defleshing process. We took 36 cranial and 13 mandibular measurements and added them to a database incorporating nearly 300 specimens of over 30 felid species. Linear discriminant analysis resolved both specimens as part of Panthera onca with high probabilities for cranial and mandibular datasets. Furthermore, the specimens exhibit characters typical of jaguars. If the descriptions of their patterning and pigmentation are accurate, we assume that both individuals were aberrant.

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Published date: 6 March 2014
Organisations: Ocean and Earth Science

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Local EPrints ID: 374172
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/374172
ISSN: 2167-8359
PURE UUID: 25b83289-09c7-44e1-8379-33b11b098e76

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 06 Feb 2015 13:51
Last modified: 15 Jul 2019 21:30

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