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#141 [url]

Jan 16 14 4:36 AM

Nice image as always Guate. Baikal 9 feet length is probably rounded off. I wonder what his exact is.

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#142 [url]

Jan 16 14 6:14 AM

GuateGojira wrote:
So, in conclusion, if we want to see the size of the largest Ngandong tiger, we most see the Amur tiger Baikal. They are about of the same size and weight, so is a perfect comparison, with the only difference than Baikal have a fluffy coat and the Ngandong tiger don't. Anything else is practically the same.

I am preparing a comparison image between the largest Amur tiger recorded in the wild (Maurice) and Baikal. Wait a few minutes please.

Interestingly, those modern Ngandong tigers can only be produced from the captive Amur population.

There are many other giant captive Amurs will also be interesting to study.

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#143 [url]

Jan 16 14 6:16 AM

tigerluver wrote:
GrizzlyClaws wrote:
My opinion about Baikal:

Weight: 850 pounds at the age of 12, possible topped 900 pounds during his prime.
Skull: Possibly about 45-46cm
Canine: Possibly about 9-10cm from the gum line
shoulder height: 125cm
body length: 240cm

Baikal's body proportion looks like a normal male Amur tiger, except he is like to up scale by 25% across all dimensions.

Here is a normal male Amur tiger:

Weight: 450-500 pounds
Skull: 36-37cm
Canine: 7-7.5cm
shoulder height: 100cm
body length: 190-200cm

I agree. Also, thanks for pointing out Baikal. I will use him in the discussion of my paper to show the validity of the regression estimates, as literally, he seems to be a clone of the Ngandong specimen.

Baikal brings to the table some interesting genetics talk. Tigers have 38 chromosomes, there are an excess of billions of possibilities for genetic recombination. Modern tigers have significantly downsized, but it would make sense that the genetic sequences that made prehistoric tigers so large could be potentially still in the genome, albeit rarely. Of the modern pantherines, only tigers have been able to reach the largest sizes of prehistoric pantherines, and this could be due to the remnants of Pleistocene tiger DNA remaining in the modern tiger genome. The tiger seems to be the one of the more primitive species of the pantherine family. 

I think the bridge that connects Ngandong tiger and Amur tiger is the Wanhsien tiger.

Those recorded specimens by Hooijer were likely average adults, while the huge mandible and skull could likely be some freak specimens?

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#144 [url]

Jan 16 14 6:40 AM

There are very few tiger fossils, and from those, we have one scientifically recognized giant (femur) and then the recent skulls found by amateurs. Probability wise, finding at least two giant specimens in an already scant fossil record is a good indication that these were not freaks, but the large end of the size spectrum. 

I was under the impression that the Wahnsien tiger was a bit older than the Ngandong tiger. Regardless, unlike today, there were no major barriers between tiger populations. The tigers of China could freely interbreed with the ones of southeast Asia. The large range of tiger would result in large gene pools, giving the opportunity for healthy and huge tigers. 

Out of the modern tiger subspecies, only the Amur and Bengal are close to our Ngandong specimen in size. Starting with the Amur, there are quiet a few reports of 320+ kg specimens. I also remember a text posted in our community which cited 400 kg Amur tigers on hunting record. Though none of the giant tiger accounts are classified as reliable. Nevertheless, this does not mean at least some of the specimens were as big as they were reported. Furthermore, there are reliable reports of Bengal tigers weighing around 320 kg, and then there is the 389 kg tiger in the Smithsonian, but its dimensions indicate that is probably lighter than that. I've read that the 389 kg specimen was gorge, so still it would weigh around 320 kg. 

Now the interesting point GrizzyClaws brought up, only Amur tigers have been able attain the prehistoric size. The smaller tiger subspecies are found in dense forests. The size reduction correlation with denser forests is seen in other species too, such as the African forest elephant, which is smaller than its grassland dwelling cousin. Large individuals would simply find it difficult to roam in dense forests and thus such individuals migrated north, where forests are less dense. 

Now I think we should start discussing the tigers decrease in size through time. Three probable factors are downsizing of prey items, genetic bottlenecks, and then the replacement of open woodlands with dense forests. I'll add more later.

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#145 [url]

Jan 16 14 7:40 AM

Finally we can prove that the assumption made by Mazak was correct, the largest modern tiger (captive specimens) can match the size of the largest prehistoric cats (Panthera genus).

The recessive gene of the giant Pleistocene tigers always exist in the genome of the modern tigers, albeit more common among the captive Amur specimens.

Among the wild specimens, i can say that the Kaziranga tigers probably carry more of this recessive gene.

Last Edited By: GrizzlyClaws Jan 16 14 7:46 AM. Edited 10 times.

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#146 [url]

Jan 16 14 8:07 AM

My gift

Well my friends, here is the last comparison image at this moment, but I think this is the most important for all the tiger fans:



Yes, here are the largest tigers of all times. These giants are the top of the Felidae evolution and the largest cats in history, rivaled only by the larger specimens of cave "lions" and the heavy Smilodon populator. As my study suggest, the Wanhsien tiger (Panthera tigris acutidens) was no larger than the modern Amur-Bengal tigers (up to 267.3 kg), based in the few available fossils, so I don’t include it in the figure.


The image is self explained and need not a special knowledge for the common cat-fan. As we can see, Amur and Bengal seems to be of the same size, however, the Amur tiger is scaled at “208 x 106 cm” (head-body length x shoulder height), like the largest Amur tigers in scientific records, while the Bengal tiger is scaled at “204 x 102 cm”, like the largest Bengal in scientific record. This shows that those little differences are irrelevant when these cats are scaled together. The same goes to the skull-head length, but you can see that the chest of the Bengal is larger than that of the Amur, although the fur dissimulates this in the Amur tiger.


The weights range from the smallest female recorded to the largest male recorded, only scientific records were accepted. The top weight of the Amur tiger (254 kg) is the largest verifiable body mass for this population (Slagth et al., 2005). The figure of 325 kg is the highest figure accepted by Sunquist & Sunquist (2002) and although Slaght et al., (2005) were unable to verify it by first hand sources, they don’t present evidence to disqualify it.


The top weight for the Bengal tiger (261 kg) is the weight of the Sauraha male adjusted for stomach content and coincidently is the same top figure quoted by Smith et al. (1983). The highest figure of 320 kg represents the record tiger of Nepal, which was confirmed by Smythies (1945), or the weight of the Guinness-Smithsonian tiger adjusted for stomach content.


Save it, is my gift for all of you, the loyal and highly intelligent tiger fans!!! Thumbsup


Last Edited By: GuateGojira Jan 16 14 8:46 AM. Edited 1 time.

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#147 [url]

Jan 16 14 8:50 AM

Ngandong tiger vs Cromerian lion is what i've waited for long time. Now we should have this topic in the animal vs animal section.

Although Cromerian lion is not Panthera leo, but it is still a close related cousin of Panthera leo, so it should represent for Panthera leo in this prehistoric version of "lion" vs tiger.

Last Edited By: GrizzlyClaws Jan 16 14 8:53 AM. Edited 3 times.

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#148 [url]

Jan 16 14 9:07 AM

Awesome, awesome image Guate!

I invite you guys to discuss the cave lion and its relationship to the modern lion with me on the other thread. The more I look into the evidence, the more lion it becomes. If you have not already, please take a look at the long bone example. The results show that both cave lion varieties are probably morphologically similar if not identical to modern lion proportions. I also have given information to problems with formulas, especially the Sorkin method. 

Also, GrizzlyClaws, do you know the title of the Mazak document which stated modern tigers can attain the sizes of prehistoric pantherines?

Last Edited By: tigerluver Jan 16 14 11:18 AM. Edited 3 times.

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#150 [url]

Jan 16 14 4:47 PM

Tigerluver, as you pointed out that there is a billion of possibilites of genetic recombination among the modern tigers.

Here is some more interesting facts from my personal observation.

This huge Amur tiger "Amur" has an interesting body type, his head is huge, but he falls in short against the head+body size of Baikal (220cm vs 240cm).

Maybe his body type is the recombination of the Wanhsien tiger, while Baikal's body type is a recombination of the larger Ngandong tiger.

Wanhsien tiger has approximately the same size as the modern Amur-Bengal from available fossil samples, except the pm4. I got the impression that Wanhsien tiger as a more primitive tiger than Ngandong tiger and modern tiger, it might have a bigger head proportion.

"Amur" has likely inherited this type of body trait from Wanhsien tiger.



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Tripoli raider

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#151 [url]

Jan 17 14 12:10 AM

harbin giants

Great expertise from you guys..Really enjoy it
Do you have any estimations for these Harbin specimens?...They are probably a bit overfed but they seem to be in good shape. Wonder what the Chinese are doing with them though...

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#153 [url]

Jan 17 14 12:40 PM

AMNH 18678: the largest Wanhsien tiger

In previous post, I manage to calculate the Greatest Skull Length (GSL) and Condylobasal length (CBL) for the largest specimen of the Wanhsien tiger (Panthera tigris acutidens) using the ratios obtained from modern tigers (AMNH 18678 – Pm4 with a anteroposterior length of 42 mm).


In the first occasion, using the ratios of GSL-CBL-Pm4 from males of Java, Indochina, India and Russia, I obtained the average value of 408.2 mm in GSL, but I leave open the question about the reliability of the result, as this will depend of the evolutionary history that we choose, in other words, with which modern tiger subspecies is more related this giant Chinese tiger.


Latter in my second attempt, I discarded those from Indochina, but this time, I also calculated the Correlation coefficient for all variables and by each subspecies. The average result was of 414 mm in GSL, however I stated that the greatest correlations between variables was that of the Javanese tiger, which have a result of 409 mm in GSL. This is about the same than the previous result.


Now, in this occasion, I followed a different way. We have the picture of the only complete skull available of the Wanhsien tiger (AMNH 18624), but we also have its mandible length (215 mm) and its Pm4 anteroposterior length (33.3 mm). With this data, this time, I examined the relation between these variables in the particular skull and extrapolated the results to estimate the skull size and the head-body length (straight line).


First: The GSL-CBL in relation with the Pm4.

In the next image I measured the length of the Pm4 and latter estimated how many Pm4 we need to get the GSL (higher line) and the CBL (lower line).



The results were that the ratio GSL-Pm4 is of 8.56, while that of CBL-Pm4 is of 8.25. These values seem very close to those of the Indochinese tigers previously calculated. However, is important to mention these points:


* The length of CBL seems to be somewhat enlarged while that of the GSL is shortened, as the sagital crest is broken. The skull is deformed in several parts, something that Hooijer pointed out, so the ratios are at some point erroneous.

* Also, the ratios are too close and the diference between GSL and CBL seems too small in relation with all the other tiger subspecies. This is caused by the deformation of the fossil.


Taking this in count, I proceeded to make the following calculations:

GSL-Pm4 ratio - 8.56 → 42*8.56 = 359.5 mm in GSL

CBL-Pm4 ratio - 8.25 → 42*8.25 = 346.5 mm in CBL


Later, using these results, I made the next calculations to obtain the GSL and the CBL of each value; this is the image and the results (left side):



GSL-Pm4 ratio - 8.56 → 42*8.56 = 359.5 mm – CBL 318.2 mm

CBL-Pm4 ratio - 8.25 → 42*8.25 = 346.5 mm – GSL 391.5 mm

Average value: GSL 375.5 mm, CBL 332.3 mm.


This result shows that this specimen was no larger than a large Indian tiger. In fact, this size is very close to the largest Bengal tiger skull measured by Mazák (1983; GSL 378 mm, CBL 334.7 mm).


Using the modern Amur tigers from Dr Christiansen, I calculated a head-body length of c.197 cm for this large specimen, which is the same than that of the Sauraha male. The shoulder height was probably about 1 meter.


Second: The Mandible Length in relation with the Pm4.

The next step was to prove the relation between the mandible and the Pm4 of this specimen, and at the same time, put to test the reliability of the image comparison method. Here is the image:



Here are the original measurements of the specimen:

* Mandible – 215 mm

* Pm4 – 33.3 mm


Now, here I found a problem. The image gives me a ratio of 6.25, but the fossil itself gives me a ratio of 6.46! This indicates that the ratios obtained from the GSL-CBL-Pm4 are probably also an Underestimation.


Here are the results of my calculations:

*From fossils:

ML-Pm4 - 6.46 → 42*6.46 = 271.3 mm mandible length.


*From comparative image:

ML-Pm4 - 6.25 → 42*6.25 = 262.5 mm mandible length.


These results produce mandibles of great size, as large as the largest record for the Amur-Bengal tiger (276 mm). This suggests a large skull and not the “small” one obtained from the GSL-CBL-Pm4. Besides, the difference between the two values is not as large as those obtained in the first steep (only 88 mm).


The next step is the calculations of the skull size, using the known ratios of CBL-ML, which have a Correlation coefficient of no less than 0.92 for the four tiger subspecies used in this study (right side):



The result suggests an average GSL of 404.1 mm, between the two values and a head-body length of c.212 cm. However if we use the original data of the skull, which gives a mandible of 271.3 mm, the GSL for the specimen “AMNH 18678” is of 411 mm and with a CBL of 363.5 mm, I calculated a head-body length of c.215 cm. This size is just 3 cm longer than that of the average results, but is significantly larger than that obtained by the GSL-CBL-Pm4 method.


As this final result uses the real size of the fossil, I am inclined to believe that a skull length of 411 mm and head-body length of 215 cm (shoulder height of 110 cm) seems correct for the largest specimen of the Wanhsien tiger. However, this size is still on the range of the largest Amur-Bengal tigers. For example, the largest tiger of Brander measured 221 cm between pegs in head-body, while the longest skull recorded by Hewett was of 413 mm. Besides, with this estimated weight, the maximum body mass of 267.3 kg fits very well, although I still believe that there is the possibility of a maximum figure of 300 kg. The only fossils that are larger than this are the giant skull and the mandible of the private collections, which surely will produce truly gigantic values.


Finally, take in count that this analysis gives only a suggestive result, although based in actual specimens and from my point of view, very reliable for comparison issues.


In a next post, I will present my new image with the Wanhsien tiger on it, scaled with the presented size.




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#154 [url]

Jan 17 14 7:56 PM

Good work Guate. In the old AVA, I believe we came up with similar numbers a long time back.

One this is to remember, the Wahsien tiger may have had a larger skull relative to its body size, as shown in most primitive species of Panthera.

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#155 [url]

Jan 17 14 8:52 PM

Good point Tigerluver. However, we must take in count that Panthera tigris acutidens was in its time, the longest long living tiger subspecies recorded, existing since the middle Pleistocene to the late Pleistocene.


This is a long time line, and taking in count that in the Eurasian lions (Spelaea clade), they evolved in two different forms thought all this time, it is possible that:

1. Pleistocene tigers from China also changed in two different forms, and therefore, there were different subspecies (the larger ones been the latter in time). Only this last one gives origin to the modern tigers.

2. This tigers lived in a continuous range for such a time that they don’t changed genetically and have only cline variations trough they habitat. Thus, they are a unique but long lived subspecies that about 75,000-108,000 years BP, suffered a severe genetic bottleneck and the few surviving tigers in the north Indochina-South China area gives origin to the modern tigers (the first been Panthera tigris amoyensis).


With this point of view, is possible that the primitive characteristic of large head-small body was no longer present in the larger (and subsequently modern) Wanhsien specimens.


I could scale the specimen “AMNH 18678” slightly smaller (210x105 cm), but I prefer to use, if there is no objection, the previous estimation (215x110 cm).


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#156 [url]

Jan 17 14 9:27 PM

As I said before, I am under the impression that P. t. acutidens evolved into P. t. soloensis and such based on documents by Groves and such. Any documents I missed that say P. t. acutidens went up to the upper Pleistocene?

I feel that the tiger had a large pandemic population across eastern Asia which could freely interbreed. Another idea that I had was that P. t. soloensis went extinct fully, with its large genes being exterminated. P. t. acutidens survived, giving rise to the similar sized Amur tigers of today.

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#157 [url]

Jan 21 14 9:34 PM

Your impression is partially correct, P. t. acutidens do evolved into P. t. soloensis, evidence suggest this. However Mazák & Groves (2006) also point out the fact that the Ngandong tiger already have the characteristics of the Javanese tiger (narrow occiput and larger Pm4 and m1), which means that this large tiger was already a different subspecies since 100,000 years BP, possibly extirpating or mixing with the already existing tigers of the Sunda shelf (P. t. oxignata).


Kitchener (1999) pointed out that the narrow occiput is a characteristic that is sometimes present in some mainland tigers, however these are exceptional cases and it is more probable that the Ngandong tiger was already a different group that gives rise to the modern Sunda tigers. Take in count that in its time, the habitat of the Ngandong tiger (the hole Sunda shelf) was almost as large as India, so there was probably some type of sub-specialization at some level in the area.


About the late age of the Wanhsien tiger, Groves (1992) suggest in his graphic that this tiger still existed at the beginning of the Upper Pleistocene (just before the second wave of tiger to the Sunda and the consequent separation with the Ngandong tiger) and if we assume that there was not a significant change on mainland tigers until 75,000-108,000 years BP, I assume that the subspecies that lived across all this time was P. t. acutidens. Following this way, the extinction of all the mainland tigers after the Toba eruption leaves the single population at the north of Indochina-South China, which according with Luo et al. (2004; 2010) and Driscoll et al. (2009) is the first appearance of P. t. amoyensis.


However, as there is very little data on the evolution of this large Chinese tiger, is possible that the Wanhsien tiger was already a different subspecies than that of the older specimens of P. t. acutidens, just like the case of Panthera spelaea with the two variables (fossilis and spelaea). In this case, this should be treated like a different group that sadly, Hooijer leave unnamed.


Finally about your last point, I am fully agreed that tiger have been always a large pandemic population. After all, there are no possible barriers to it expansion through all Asia. No river, desert (at least not those of Central Asia) nor even lions stopped its expansion in the entire continent. Taking in count that modern tigers recently evolved in South China, the tiger was still in expansion in the Holocene and only human intervention stopped it. Check that there were reports in the medieval times of Caspian tigers in the European Russia!!! If the tiger would have more time, he was probably conquest all the forest of Europe and the population at Central Asia (Altai Mountains and Baikal Lake) would be probably larger in numbers. Sadly, humans erase all these possibilities. So yes, Pleistocene and modern tigers were a large population, slightly separated by geography in some parts which probably caused a cline variation and a single subspecies at the Sunda shelf.


However, we can’t conclude that the Ngandong tiger genes were fully extinct. In fact, the Ngandong tiger already have the most important characteristics of the modern Javanese tiger, which suggest that this group suffered of a dramatic diminution in size, not a direct extinction. Punung tigers, the next step in the Javanese tiger evolution, suggest a size close to the Indochinese tigers and the modern Javan tigers were still larger than the modern Sumatran cousins (the estimation of 100-141 kg of Mazák (1981) is an underestimation from his part).


So, my conclusion is that these two different forms of tigers (1. P. t. acutidens – mainland; 2. P. t. soloensis – Sunda shelf) evolved in large landscapes with large prey base, however the Toba eruption (75,000 – 108,000 years BP) was the only direct event that successfully separated this once pandemic population. After that, this two groups followed they own ways, with mainland tigers evolving in the modern mainland Panthera tigris retaining its large size and the Sunda tigers Panthera (tigris) sondaica decreasing in size after the finalization of the last Ice Age, caused by the dramatic reduction in its habitat to the tiny fraction that is the modern Java-Bali islands and the consequent extinction of the tiger populations in Borneo and Philippines.


About the size of the Amur-Caspian and Bengal tigers, these are the genes of the Wanhsien tiger, they give origin to the Ngandong tiger and they also produced our modern giants. It is interesting that even the “smaller” modern mailand subspecies also produced relative large specimens (P. t. amoyensis with 190 kg and P. t. corbetti with 200 kg) and based in very small samples. The modern extinction of the Javanese tiger (P. (t.) sondaica) is the event that caused the definitive extinction of the Ngandong tiger genes. smiley: frown


Last Edited By: GuateGojira Jan 21 14 9:41 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#158 [url]

Jan 22 14 12:09 AM

Great analysis Guate!

The study I am working on is dedicated the evolution of the tiger's size. I don't want to give out too much info, but your conclusion on the Wahnsien tiger being directly related to the large modern subspecies is strongly supported by my data.

Now that my semester has started, I won't be able to post as much, but I am still working on my study. I know it's taking a while, but I want it as best as it can be!

Best regards my friends.

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#160 [url]

Jan 22 14 7:37 AM

The Wanhsien tiger data sheet

Here is my image of the great Pleistocene China tiger, the now famous Wanhsien tiger (Panthera tigris acutidens).



The image represent the largest (although not the heaviest) specimen recorded (AMNH- 18678) which constitute in a series of dentition, with a fourth premolar of 42 mm in antero-posterior length, which produced a skull of c. 411 mm when it was compared with other modern tigers. The smallest specimen is the tibia recorded by Hooijer.


Hope you like it. I used an Amur-Bengal hybrid, as this is how I think will looks this basal tiger. Also, I slightly enlarged the paws in order to reflect the large metapodials.




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