Panthera zdanskyi, the Longdan tiger

Panthera zdanskyi was a big cat that lived during the Pleistocene, about 2.55 to 2.16 million years ago. It was described in 2011 by a team of scientists led by Ji H. Mazák and is based on skull material coming from Longdan, south of Dongxiang Autonomous county, Gansu province, China.

According to the original study, P. zdanskyi was most closely related to the tiger (Panthera tigris). This led the researchers to propose a vernacular name for it – the Longdan tiger. However, with an estimated weight of about 77 kg, it was jaguar-sized.

The skull of the Longdan tiger is the oldest pantherine skull described to date. Only a few jaw fragments are older.

Featured image by Velizar Simeonovski (Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago). Modified. CC BY 2.5.

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