Yang's Tiger: Chinese native lion, but why is it called a tiger?

2019-12-26 | Animal Expo original |

Who is Yang's Tiger sacred?

Yang's tiger, a master specimen was unearthed at the Zhoukoudian site in Beijing, where the Beijing ape-man lived. In 1934, Pei Wen, a famous paleontologist in China, described Yang's tiger based on a nearly complete anterior mandible fossil. Pei LaoMr. found that this mandible is undoubtedly belonged to the Panthera genus, and looks like a lion overall, but the lower canine teeth are more in line with the characteristics of a tiger, so he tentatively categorizes it as an independent panthera species.

△ Yang's Tiger Recovery Picture

Later, many paleontologists have further discussed the classification status of Yang's tiger. For example, Zhang Zhenhong of the Liaoning Museum classified the mandibular fossil found in Anping, Liaoning, into the Yang's tiger, and thought that the Yang's tiger should be a lion.. As people's understanding of the differences between lions and tigers continues to deepen, most paleontologists now support the view that the Yang tiger belongs to the lion. The Yang tiger is likely to be an ancient lion native to China.

Mr. Pei at the time designated the Latin scientific name of the Yang tiger as Panthera youngi, which means Panthera-Yang, a separate species other than lions and tigers, and does not have the meaning of a tiger. He is called a tigerIt is purely a matter of Chinese habit. When Chinese scholars named ancient cats, they used to call tigers of large size such as saber-toothed tigers, leopards of medium size, and cats of small size. For example, saber-toothed tigers have nothing to do with tigers.They are not panthers, and they are also called tigers. Considering that the Yang tiger is probably a lion, it may be more appropriate to call it a Yang lion.

Zhang Hongzhen's Yang Shihu Research Paper

Lion, Tiger competition in North China

Yang's tiger lived 350,000 years ago. At that time, the lions had already stepped out of the Africa where they originated. The tigers also continued to explore new territories in East Asia. North China is the front line where the two cats meet.

Comparison of prehistoric lion mandible

Early in the early Pleistocene, more than 2 million years ago, tigers first appeared in North China. Gansu's Longtan Tiger was the earliest tiger fossil found so far, and later evolved into the ancient Chinese tiger in Henan.Tiger fossils have also been found in the fauna of Wangling and Chenjiawozi, dating back to 600,000 to 1 million years ago. However, during the long Pleistocene 2.6 to 12,000 years ago, tiger fossilsThe most abundant place is the islands of Southeast Asia. North China is the northernmost limit for tiger fossil records.

Now it is generally believed that these northern ancient tigers are only a side branch of tiger evolution, not the direct ancestors of modern tigers. Molecular genetic studies have shown that the common ancestors of the existing major tiger subspecies have not left Southeast Asia 100,000 years ago.This shows that modern tigers are indeed a very young species.

The most primitive tiger animal--Dragon-bearing tiger

The lion came to Eurasia only 1.2 million years ago, and entered North China much later than the tiger. About 700,000 years ago, the fossil lion ancient lion began to dominate Eurasia. This is a kind of shoulder heightThe beast that can reach 1.3 meters and weigh nearly half a ton is the largest feline in history. About 340,000 years ago, at the same time as Yang's tiger lived in Zhoukoudian, the North American North Cordillera ice sheet will be a fossil lion.Divided into two isolated populations. 200,000 years later, fossil lions in Europe, North Asia, and Alaska evolved into cave lions, while fossil lions in southern North America became North American lions pseudo-lions.

Lion evolution diagram

From the perspective of survival time and place, even if the Yang tiger belongs to the lion, it is not a modern maned lion, but it should belong to the non-maned lion. The most likely is the branch of the fossil lion in East Asia. But the Yang tigerThe body size is much smaller than the fossil lion, only the size of modern lions and tigers. The classification status of the maneless lion has not yet reached a consensus in the academic world. Some people think that it is a subspecies of modern lion and some think it is an independent species. ConsideringThe maned lion and maned lion separated as early as 1.9 million years ago, and I personally think that it is more appropriate to be two closely related independent species. We must know that polar bears and brown bears have been separated for only 500,000 years and are divided intoDifferent species.

Lion and tiger live in grassland and one live in forest. There is no direct competition. The North China area of ​​the Pleistocene has both forest and grassland, which may provide a special battlefield for lions and tigers. IIt is speculated that a tug of war might have occurred in North China at that time. The glacial grassland expanded, and the lion expanded, while the interglacial forest expanded, and the tiger expanded.

Lion Lion Recovery Picture

Pleistocene is generally dominated by grasslands, so the expansion of tigers has not achieved much. Only 2 million years left only scattered fossils in North China, and did not gain a firm foothold and move further north. Lions have successfully seized North Asia, andExpansion into North America via Bering Land Bridge. When the Holocene is approaching 12,000 years ago, as the ice age ends and the grassland declines, maneless lions from all over the world have come to the end, while tigers have ushered in a good time.They not only quickly occupied China, but also entered India, North and Central Asia, and evolved into Bengal, Amur and Caspian tigers.

Generally speaking, there are not many lion and tiger fossils unearthed in China, which are in sharp contrast with hundreds of thousands of maneless lion fossils in Europe and North America. This may be mainly due to insufficient investment in China in the past and the research has not been thorough.. I can only say so much about the competition between lions and tigers in North China during the Pleistocene, and look forward to more new discoveries in China in the future.

North American Lion Recovery Picture

Yang's neighbor

There are two other saber-toothed tiger cats living in the Zhoukoudian with Yang's tiger: the accidental giant tiger and the last sawtooth tiger. The sawtooth tiger may be about the same size as the Yang's tiger, and the giant tiger is smaller. The Yang's tigerThe age of life is the era when sabertooth cats are declining and leopards are booming. The maned lion group to which the Yang tiger belongs is replacing the supremacy of the sawtooth tiger around the world.

The most famous site of Zhoukoudian is of course Beijing Ape-man. Beijing Ape-man is an upright person. They have started using simple and primitive stone tools for hunting and gathering, and learned to use fire. Beijing Ape-man also likes hunting, so heLarge beasts are in a competitive relationship, but they may not be the opponents of large beasts. The fangs and claws of Yang's tiger, sawtooth tiger, and giant tiger must be covered with the blood of Beijing ape-man.

Beijing Homo Erectus Statue

These big cats may not be the strongest carnivores in Zhoukoudian. Zhoukoudian has unearthed almost complete skeletons of Chinese hyena skeletons, with a shoulder height of about one meter and an estimated weight of 100-150 kg, which is almost heavier than the current African spotted hyena.Double, if it is also a gregarious group, several big cats in Zhoukoudian are not its opponents. Zhoukoudian also has predators such as wolves, black bears, and cave bears. Although the cave bears are large, they are almost vegan, and there is no strong relationship with big catsCompetitive relationship.

The most unearthed animal in Zhoukoudian is the swollen deer, which is also called the Beijinger-Swollen Deer Fauna. The swollen deer is an elk-sized prehistoric deer that is widely distributed in the north of the Yangtze River in China.It is conceivable that it is the common main hunting target of prehistoric big cats such as Yang's Tiger, Shuo Hyena and Beijingers.

Swelling deer recovery map

In short, in North China in the middle of the Pleistocene, there were both prairie animals such as Przewalski's gazelle, ancient caryodon, swollen deer, savannah, wild hyena, and giant tiger tiger, as well as wild macaques, wild boars, and cave bearsForest animals are a sacred place for wild animals. However, due to lack of materials, we are temporarily unable to understand the classification status of some animals such as the Yang tiger, let alone their ecological relationship with other animals. In the future with moreUnearthed materials, the stories of these ancient Chinese beasts will definitely bring us more surprises.

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