About the Java tigers:
Exactly, although the small size of the Bali
and the Japan tiger is directly connected with island dwarfism, the size of the
Javanese tiger is still in discussion. Take in count that the weight range
(100-141 kg) came from the estimations of Mazák, but in reality there is only ONE weight recorded from Java,
which is of 140 kg (Sody, 1949) and is from a tiger that was not described as
Other point about the possible large size of
the Javanese tiger is its skull. Check that the largest skulls from Java are
significatively larger than those from Sumatra. Sody (1949) list 12 skulls from
Java and the largest was of 349 mm,
comparable with the largest skull of Sumatra which measured 345 mm (n=9).
However, in the basal length, the Javanese skull measured 285 mm while that of
Sumatra was of only 260 mm, which means that the Javanese skull was larger
Mazák (1981) also present a list of skulls
measured by him and the largest skull from Java was of 349 mm in comparison
with the largest of Sumatra of only 335 mm.
Finally, Mazák & Groves (2006) present a
large sample of skulls and on average, the Sumatran seems larger, but take in
count that they don’t included the larger skulls from Sody or Mazák, perhaps
because those specimens don’t have the full set of measurements that they
needed for they analysis.
Overall, the Javanese tigers seem to reach
larger sizes than those from Sumatra and if we take in count the picture of the
large tiger hunted in Java (posted by Phantera in AVA), it seems that in fact,
Javanese tigers could reach up to 160 kg and measured up to 9 ft (274 cm) in
total length between pegs (like the largest jaguars of El Pantanal in Brazil
and Los Llanos in Venezuela), after all, how could a small tiger of only 100 kg
kill a large banteng bull of 500-800 kg??? Check that there are several
reliable accounts of large banteng bulls killed by tigers in Java (Hoogerwerf,
By the way, did you know that the Javanese
tigers leaved the largest paw marks of all tigers (except for the Amur ones)?
Check this book:
This is the classic document of Hoogerwerf
(1970) about the fauna of Java. It is the full chapters of the Javanese tigers
and have a lot of information about them. Enjoy the reading.
In conclusion, Sonda tigers and Japanese tigers
suffered of Island dwarfism, but they retained they large prey range (at
exception of those from Japan), that was similar to the Indian tiger. However,
the Javanese tigers were still larger than the Sumatran tigers and some Malayan
tigers, wtih skulls lengths that match the average from Indochina and the
largest ones were larger than the largest Indian-Russian tigresses.
About the Beringia
We know that tigers are very tied to the forest
(with the exception of the Caspian tigers) and depend of its cover to hunt its
prey. Beringia was a place that resembled more a savanna type habitat, which is
suitable for lions but not for tigers. It is possible that the few tigers that
live in that area survived during the time when Beringia had forested areas,
but when those woods disappeared, the tigers follow them. The Eurasian lions
that lived in that area thrived because its habitat was perfect for them
(savanna) and it seems that Beringia have more periods of “Savanna” like
habitat than “wood” habitat. So, the Eurasian lions prospered while tigers don’t
filled they needs in that habitat and disappeared.
Just a side note, the “lions” that lived in all
Eurasia (Europe to Yakutia) and Beringia up to Alaska was not Panthera atrox but the Eurasian steppe
lion (Panthera spelaea spelaea). Panthera atrox only lived in North
America under the great ice sheet that covered Canada.