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Patagonian Panther - Panthera onca mesembrina
Topic Started: Oct 10 2017, 09:46 PM (556 Views)
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Patagonian Panther - Panthera onca mesembrina

Posted Image

Temporal range: Pleistocene

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Genus: Panthera
Species: Panthera onca
Subspecies: Panthera onca mesembrina

Panthera onca mesembrina,is an extinct subspecies of the Jaguar that was endemic to North and South America during the Pleistocene epoch (1.8 mya–11,000 years ago).

Two specimens were examined by Legendre and Roth for body mass The first specimen was estimated to have a weight of 46.3 kg (100 lb). The second was estimated to have a weight of 129.1 kg (280 lb).

Fossil distribution
Fossils have been uncovered from Cueva del Milodon, Chile, Piaui, Brazil, and north to Adams County, Washington.

Journal Reference:
María Martin, Fabiana. (2016). Cueva del Milodón. The hunting grounds of the Patagonian panther. Quaternary International. . 10.1016/j.quaint.2016.05.005.

This paper presents information derived from the taphonomic reevaluation of the Hauthal collection from Cueva del Milodón, Última Esperanza, Chile. This is a bone assemblage recovered in 1899 and 1900 at that cave and stored at the Museo de La Plata, Argentina. Mylodon darwini, Hippidion saldiasi, Panthera onca mesembrina and Camelidae are among the most important extinct animals represented at the site. These materials were studied and analyzed several times between the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries. However, a detailed study with a taphonomic perspective such as the one presented here was lacking. Contrary to most previous evaluations, this analysis shows that an archaeological component can be defended at the end of the Pleistocene on the basis of the presence of cut marks on Hippidion bones. However, Lehmann-Nitsche excellent description of damages recorded on the ground sloth bones, that he attributed to humans, could not be confirmed. Instead, those damages are here interpreted as large carnivore tooth marks. They are concentrated on ground sloth remains and are attributed to Panthera onca mesembrina. It is here suggested that panthers used the cave and surroundings to prey on ground sloths. The study of the marks and their distribution, especially on ground sloth skulls, indicates the use of a hunting strategy which was similar to that used by jaguars (Panthera onca) when hunting large prey.


Ancient DNA shows perfect storm felled Ice Age giants

Date: June 17, 2016
Source: University of Adelaide

Posted Image
Partial jaw of a large, extinct jaguar discovered in a cave in the Ultima Esperanza region of Patagonia.
Credit: Fabiana Martin/CEHA

Giant Ice Age species including elephant-sized sloths and powerful sabre-toothed cats that once roamed the windswept plains of Patagonia, southern South America, were finally felled by a perfect storm of a rapidly warming climate and humans, a new study has shown.

Research led by the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA (ACAD) at the University of Adelaide, published in Science Advances, has revealed that it was only when the climate warmed, long after humans first arrived in Patagonia, did the megafauna suddenly die off around 12,300 years ago.

The timing and cause of rapid extinctions of the megafauna has remained a mystery for centuries.

"Patagonia turns out to be the Rosetta Stone -- it shows that human colonisation didn't immediately result in extinctions, but only as long as it stayed cold," says study leader Professor Alan Cooper, ACAD Director. "Instead, more than 1000 years of human occupation passed before a rapid warming event occurred, and then the megafauna were extinct within a hundred years."

The researchers, including from the University of Colorado Boulder, University of New South Wales and University of Magallanes in Patagonia, studied ancient DNA extracted from radiocarbon-dated bones and teeth found in caves across Patagonia, and Tierra del Fuego, to trace the genetic history of the populations. Species such as the South American horse, giant jaguar and sabre-toothed cat, and the enormous one-tonne short-faced bear (the largest land-based mammalian carnivore) were found widely across Patagonia, but seemed to disappear shortly after humans arrived.

The pattern of rapid human colonisation through the Americas, coinciding with contrasting temperature trends in each continent, allowed the researchers to disentangle the relative impact of human arrival and climate change.

"The America's are unique in that humans moved through two continents, from Alaska to Patagonia, in just 1500 years," says Professor Chris Turney, from the University of New South Wales. "As they did so, they passed through distinctly different climate states -- warm in the north, and cold in the south. As a result, we can contrast human impacts under the different climatic conditions."

The only large species to survive were the ancestors of today's llama and alpaca -- the guanaco and vicuna -- and even these species almost went extinct.

"The ancient genetic data show that only the late arrival in Patagonia of a population of guanacos from the north saved the species, all other populations became extinct," says lead author Dr Jessica Metcalf, from the University of Colorado Boulder.

"In 1936 Fell's cave, a small rock shelter in Patagonia, was the first site in the world to show that humans had hunted Ice Age megafauna. So it seems appropriate that we're now using the bones from the area to reveal the key role of climate warming, and humans, in the megafaunal extinctions," says Dr Fabiana Martin, at the University of Magallanes.

Story Source: University of Adelaide. "Ancient DNA shows perfect storm felled Ice Age giants." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/06/160617160350.htm (accessed October 9, 2017).

Journal Reference:
J. L. Metcalf, C. Turney, R. Barnett, F. Martin, S. C. Bray, J. T. Vilstrup, L. Orlando, R. Salas-Gismondi, D. Loponte, M. Medina, M. De Nigris, T. Civalero, P. M. Fernandez, A. Gasco, V. Duran, K. L. Seymour, C. Otaola, A. Gil, R. Paunero, F. J. Prevosti, C. J. A. Bradshaw, J. C. Wheeler, L. Borrero, J. J. Austin, A. Cooper. Synergistic roles of climate warming and human occupation in Patagonian megafaunal extinctions during the Last Deglaciation. Science Advances, 2016; 2 (6): e1501682 DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501682

The causes of Late Pleistocene megafaunal extinctions (60,000 to 11,650 years ago, hereafter 60 to 11.65 ka) remain contentious, with major phases coinciding with both human arrival and climate change around the world. The Americas provide a unique opportunity to disentangle these factors as human colonization took place over a narrow time frame (~15 to 14.6 ka) but during contrasting temperature trends across each continent. Unfortunately, limited data sets in South America have so far precluded detailed comparison. We analyze genetic and radiocarbon data from 89 and 71 Patagonian megafaunal bones, respectively, more than doubling the high-quality Pleistocene megafaunal radiocarbon data sets from the region. We identify a narrow megafaunal extinction phase 12,280 ± 110 years ago, some 1 to 3 thousand years after initial human presence in the area. Although humans arrived immediately prior to a cold phase, the Antarctic Cold Reversal stadial, megafaunal extinctions did not occur until the stadial finished and the subsequent warming phase commenced some 1 to 3 thousand years later. The increased resolution provided by the Patagonian material reveals that the sequence of climate and extinction events in North and South America were temporally inverted, but in both cases, megafaunal extinctions did not occur until human presence and climate warming coincided. Overall, metapopulation processes involving subpopulation connectivity on a continental scale appear to have been critical for megafaunal species survival of both climate change and human impacts.


Journal Reference:
Chichkoyan KV, Figueirido B, Belinchón M, Lanata JL, Moigne A, Martínez-Navarro B. (2017) Direct evidence of megamammal-carnivore interaction decoded from bone marks in historical fossil collections from the Pampean region. PeerJ 5:e3117 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.3117

Pleistocene South American megafauna has traditionally attracted the interest of scientists and the popular media alike. However, ecological interactions between the species that inhabited these ecosystems, such as predator-prey relationships or interspecific competition, are poorly known. To this regard, carnivore marks imprinted on the fossil bones of megamammal remains are very useful for deciphering biological activity and, hence, potential interspecific relationships among taxa. In this article, we study historical fossil collections housed in different European and Argentinean museums that were excavated during the 19th and early 20th centuries in the Pampean region, Argentina, in order to detect carnivore marks on bones of megamammals and provide crucial information on the ecological relationships between South American taxa during the Pleistocene. Our results indicate that the long bones of megafauna from the Pampean region (e.g., the Mylodontidae and Toxodontidae families) exhibit carnivore marks. Furthermore, long bones of medium-sized species and indeterminate bones also present punctures, pits, scores and fractures. Members of the large-carnivore guild, such as ursids, canids and even felids, are recognised as the main agents that inflicted the marks. We hypothesize that the analysed carnivore marks represent the last stages of megaherbivore carcass exploitation, suggesting full consumption of these animals by the same or multiple taxa in a hunting and/or scavenging scenario. Moreover, our observations provide novel insights that help further our understanding of the palaeoecological relationships of these unique communities of megamammals.

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