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Temporal range: Late Miocene to Holocene
Lydekker - Pantherinae collage.jpg
Pantherinae subfamily members (from left): jaguar, leopard, lion, tiger, snow leopard and clouded leopard
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Pocock, 1917

Pantherinae is a subfamily within the family Felidae; it was named and first described by Reginald Innes Pocock in 1917 as only including the Panthera species.[2] The Pantherinae genetically diverged from a common ancestor between 9.32 to 4.47 million years ago and 10.67 to 3.76 million years ago.[3][4]


Pantherinae species are characterised by an imperfectly ossified hyoid bone with elastic tendons that enable their larynx to be mobile.[2] They have a flat rhinarium that only barely reaches the dorsal side of the nose. The area between the nostrils is narrow, and not extended sidewards as in the Felinae.[5]

The Panthera species have a single, rounded, vocal fold with a thick mucosal lining, a large vocalis muscle, and a large cricothyroid muscle with long and narrow membranes. A vocal fold that is longer than 19 mm (0.75 in) enables all but the snow leopard among them to roar, as it has shorter vocal folds of 9 mm (0.35 in) that provide a lower resistance to airflow; this distinction was one reason it was proposed to be retained in the genus Uncia.[6][7]


Pocock originally defined the Pantherinae as comprising the genera Panthera and Uncia.[2] Today, Uncia has been subsumed to Panthera, and the genus Neofelis is also included.[8]

Living genera[edit]

The following table shows the extant taxa within the Pantherinae, grouped according to the traditional phenotypical classification.[8] Estimated genetic divergence times of the genotypical pantherine lineage are indicated in million years ago (mya), based on analysis of autosomal, xDNA, yDNA and mtDNA gene segments;[3] and estimates based on analysis of biparental nuclear genomes.[4]

Genus Species IUCN Red List status and distribution
Neofelis Gray, 1867[9]
14.45 to 8.38 mya
Clouded leopard (N. nebulosa) (Griffith, 1821)[10]

diverged 9.32 to 4.47 mya
Neofelis nebulosa.jpg


Clouded-leopard distribution.jpg

Sunda clouded leopard (N. diardi) (Cuvier, 1823)[12]

diverged 2 to 0.9 mya[13]
Borneo clouded leopard.jpg


Sunda-Clouded-leopard distribution.jpg

Panthera Oken, 1816[15]
11.75 to 0.97 mya[4]
Leopard (P. pardus) (Linnaeus, 1758)[16]

diverged 4.63 to 1.81 mya
Namibie Etosha Leopard 01edit.jpg


Leopard distribution.jpg

Tiger (P. tigris) (Linnaeus, 1758)[18]

diverged 4.62 to 1.82 mya
Panthera tigris tigris.jpg


Tiger map.svg

Snow leopard (P. uncia) (Schreber, 1775)[20]

diverged 4.62 to 1.82 mya
Schneeleoparden Kailash und Dshamilja frontal.jpg


SnowLeopard distribution.jpg

Lion (P. leo) (Linnaeus, 1758)[22]

diverged 3.46 to 1.22 mya
Lion (Panthera leo) (52018733195).jpg


Lion distribution.png

Jaguar (P. onca) (Linnaeus, 1758)[24]

diverged 3.46 to 1.22 mya
Standing jaguar.jpg


Panthera onca distribution.svg


The Felidae originated in Central Asia in the Late Miocene; the subfamily Pantherinae diverged from the Felidae between 14.45 to 8.38 million years ago and 16.35 to 7.91 million years ago.[3][4] Several fossil Panthera species were described:

There is evidence of distinct markers for the mitochondrial genome for Felidae.[34][35]

Results of a DNA-based study indicate that the tiger (Panthera tigris) branched off first, followed by the jaguar (P. onca), the lion (P. leo), then the leopard (P. pardus) and snow leopard (P. uncia).[36]

Felis pamiri, formerly referred to as Metailurus, is now considered a probable relative of extant Pantherinae.[37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wozencraft, W. C. (2005). "Pantherinae". In Wilson, D. E.; Reeder, D. M. (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 545–548. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
  2. ^ a b c Pocock, R. I. (1917). "The Classification of existing Felidae". The Annals and Magazine of Natural History. Series 8. XX: 329–350. doi:10.1080/00222931709487018.
  3. ^ a b c Johnson, W. E.; Eizirik, E.; Pecon-Slattery, J.; Murphy, W. J.; Antunes, A.; Teeling, E. & O'Brien, S. J. (2006). "The late Miocene radiation of modern Felidae: a genetic assessment". Science. 311 (5757): 73–77. Bibcode:2006Sci...311...73J. doi:10.1126/science.1122277. PMID 16400146. S2CID 41672825.
  4. ^ a b c d Li, G.; Davis, B. W.; Eizirik, E. & Murphy, W. J. (2016). "Phylogenomic evidence for ancient hybridization in the genomes of living cats (Felidae)". Genome Research. 26 (1): 1–11. doi:10.1101/gr.186668.114. PMC 4691742. PMID 26518481.
  5. ^ Hemmer, H. (1966). "Untersuchungen zur Stammesgeschichte der Pantherkatzen (Pantherinae). Teil I" [Researching the phylogenetic history of the Pantherinae. Part I]. Veröffentlichungen der Zoologischen Staatssammlung München. 11: 1–121.
  6. ^ Hast, M. H. (1989). "The larynx of roaring and non-roaring cats". Journal of Anatomy. 163: 117–121. PMC 1256521. PMID 2606766.
  7. ^ Weissengruber, G. E.; Forstenpointner, G.; Peters, G.; Kübber-Heiss, A.; Fitch, W. T. (2002). "Hyoid apparatus and pharynx in the lion (Panthera leo), jaguar (Panthera onca), tiger (Panthera tigris), cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus) and domestic cat (Felis silvestris f. catus)". Journal of Anatomy. 201 (3): 195–209. doi:10.1046/j.1469-7580.2002.00088.x. PMC 1570911. PMID 12363272.
  8. ^ a b Kitchener, A. C.; Breitenmoser-Würsten, C.; Eizirik, E.; Gentry, A.; Werdelin, L.; Wilting, A.; Yamaguchi, N.; Abramov, A. V.; Christiansen, P.; Driscoll, C.; Duckworth, J. W.; Johnson, W.; Luo, S.-J.; Meijaard, E.; O’Donoghue, P.; Sanderson, J.; Seymour, K.; Bruford, M.; Groves, C.; Hoffmann, M.; Nowell, K.; Timmons, Z.; Tobe, S. (2017). "A revised taxonomy of the Felidae: The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group" (PDF). Cat News (Special Issue 11): 64−75.
  9. ^ Gray, J. E. (1867). "Notes on the skulls of the Cats. 5. Neofelis". Proceedings of the Scientific Meetings of the Zoological Society of London. 1867: 265–266.
  10. ^ Griffith, E. (1821). "Felis nebulosa". General and particular descriptions of the vertebrated animals arranged comfortably to the modern discoveries and improvements in zoology. London: Baldwin, Cradock & Joy. p. 37.
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  12. ^ Cuvier, G. (1823). "Recherches sur les ossemens fossiles; ou, l'on retablit les caracteres de plusiers animaux dont les revolutions du globe ont detruit les especes". Les Ruminans et les Carnassiers Fossiles, Volume IV. Paris: G. Dufour & E. d'Ocagne.
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  16. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). "Felis pardus". Caroli Linnæi Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Vol. Tomus I (decima, reformata ed.). Holmiae: Laurentius Salvius. p. 41−42.
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  18. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). "Felis tigris". Caroli Linnæi Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Vol. Tomus I (decima, reformata ed.). Holmiae: Laurentius Salvius. p. 41.
  19. ^ Goodrich, J.; Lynam, A.; Miquelle, D.; Wibisono, H.; Kawanishi, K.; Pattanavibool, A.; Htun, S.; Tempa, T.; Karki, J.; Jhala, Y. & Karanth, U. (2015). "Panthera tigris". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2015: e.T15955A50659951.
  20. ^ Schreber, J. C. D. (1777). "Die Unze". Die Säugethiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. Erlangen: Wolfgang Walther. pp. 386–387.
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  22. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). "Felis leo". Caroli Linnæi Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Vol. Tomus I (decima, reformata ed.). Holmiae: Laurentius Salvius. p. 41.
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  24. ^ Linnaeus, C. (1758). "Felis onca". Caroli Linnæi Systema naturæ per regna tria naturæ, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Vol. Tomus I (decima, reformata ed.). Holmiae: Laurentius Salvius. p. 42. (in Latin)
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External links[edit]