Archive for the 'Neofelis' category

Difference between Panther and Leopard

(Thursday, July 23rd, 2015)

It is most common to describe Panther and Leppard (or Leopard) as two distinct species. However, this is more a misconception in the wider public than a recognized biological classification. Both words should be used interchangeably even if old habits never die (For all the kids, Bagheera will always be the black panther of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and cannot become a black leppard).

More importantly, if the common leopard/panther really is an identifiable species (Panthera pardus), many other species holding a leopard name belong to à completely different order:

  • The Snow leopard should probably be called Uncia (Panthera uncia).
  • The Clouded panther is actually a Neofelis nebulosa and belongs to a distinct genre (Neofelis) which is only remotely linked to lions, tigers and true leopards.

As a matter of fact, the most attentive (or trained) eye could distinguish morphologies between those animals even without looking at their pelt colored patterns (which is still very distinctive for most of them).

Only the China Panther is of the same family as the common leopard and keeps most of its characteristics.

Borneo leopard shot on camera

(Wednesday, April 7th, 2010)

We know few things about this species (near to the Clouded Leopard) that is known under the name of the Bornean Clouded Leopard. But a scientific team recently surprised on of them in the Dermakot Forest Reserve in Malaysia. The team could shoot a short film of it while it is usually a very easily frightened animal which does not let people approach it.

YouTube link

It seems that this area has a quite large diversity of big cats. A place where they are still protected by the lack of human population, but will it be for long?

Source: AFP via Yahoo.

Fossil big cats

(Wednesday, November 5th, 2008)

The big cats that we know today are but an image of the species appeared then disappeared during the last 60 million years. Of course, I think of the famous saber-toothed tiger of our youngest years, but it is not alone.

The Big Cats and Their Fossil Relatives” of Alan Turner, illustrated by Mauricio Anton, is one of the enthralling books you sometimes find on a shelf. It simply browses through these dead speacies of big cats. I would have liked to find them in a photo safari, for sure:

  • Simodon fatalis, whose killing smile probably allowed it to hunt bisons;
  • Acinonix inexpectatus, the giant North American cheetah that some would like to re-introduce indirectly under the likes of its current African cousin;
  • Homotherium serum, whose slope-backed appearance would remind of current-day hyenas.

A book that is read like a novel and is still a scientific work aimed toward a large reading public willing to know more about the big cats of prehistoric times, their evolution, their links with today’s big cats.


Copyright (c) 2008-2016 - Yves Roumazeilles (all rights reserved)

Latest update: 23-nov-15