On Top of the World

We seem to be making an overdue time jump into November: Brian Thomas’ article for Monday is called Tibetan Cat Fossil: A Tall Tale? He opens:

An international research team claims to have found the world’s oldest big cat fossil in Tibet, publishing their findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Big cats include lions, tigers, jaguars, and even snow leopards from Asia. The team dated several snow leopard-like partial fossils at between 4.1 and 5.95 million years old and a complete skull at around 4.4 million years. But how did the authors obtain these large numbers?

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The Tigon Continuum

A liger (not a tiglon)To quickly summarise Thomas’ article Lions, Tigers, and Tigons, a bunch of old news stories are dug up to talk about baraminological ‘kinds.’

You have probably heard of ligers: tiger/lion crosses, where the lion is the female parent. Tigons, or tiglons, are the opposite – the tiger is the female.

In December 2011, a lioness at Yancheng Safari Park of Changzhou in China gave birth to twin tigons, and the Associated Press recently released footage of the young cats in their pen. Tigons, or tiglons, are the rare products of tiger fathers and lioness mothers. Tigers are larger cats than lions, leading to more difficulties in pregnancy and birth with tigons than with ligers. Unfortunately, one of the featured tigons died soon after birth.

“Recently” here is early March, which has got to be a record (judging by the ‘accessed on’ dates, this article was written over a month ago – also a record?). Continue reading