Temporal range: Early to Middle Pleistocene
The European jaguar (Panthera (onca) gombaszoegensis) lived about 1.5 million years ago, and is the earliest known Panthera species from Europe. Fossil remains were first known from the Olivola site in Italy and under the synonym Panthera toscana from other Italian localities. Later specimens have been found in England, Germany, Spain, France, and the Netherlands. Sometimes it is recognized as a subspecies of Panthera onca, the jaguar.
European jaguars were larger than those found in South America, with a bodyweight between 70 and 210 kg (154 to 463 lbs) and were therefore probably capable of bringing down larger prey. A form similar to Panthera gombaszoegensis has been found dating from early Pleistocene East Africa and had both lion- and tiger-like characters.
Habitat and behavior
The European jaguar has often been thought to be a forest-dwelling cat, with similar habits to the modern jaguar, although recent work suggests that the association between the European jaguar and forested habitats is not as strong as has often been assumed. It was probably a solitary animal.
- A. Turner: The big cats and their fossil relatives. Columbia University Press, 1997.ISBN 0-231-10229-1
- Hemmer, H & R.-D. Kahlke. 2005. Nachweis des Jaguars (Panthera onca gombaszoegensis) aus dem späten Unter- oder frühen Mittelpleistozän der Niederlande. Deinsea, Annual of the Natural History Museum Rotterdam. P. 47-57.
- O'Regan, H.J., A. Turner & D.M. 2002. Wilkinson. European Quaternary refugia: a factor in large carnivore extinction? Journal of Quaternary Science 17(8) 789–795. (Full text pdf)
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