Panthera Uncia Edit

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A Panthera Unica's regular, ordinary, first-learned,basic name is "Snow Leopard!


The snow leopard or ounce (Panthera uncia syn. Uncia uncia) is a large cat native to the mountain ranges of Central and South Asia. It is listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species because as of 2003 the size of the global wild population was estimated at 4,080–6,590 adults. Fewer than 2,500 individuals may reproduce in the wild. As of 2016, estimates for the size of the global population vary from at least 4,080 to about 8,700 individuals.[3]

Snow leopards inhabit alpine and subalpine zones at elevations from 3,000 to 4,500 m (9,800 to 14,800 ft). In the northern range countries, they also occur at lower elevations.

Taxonomically, the snow leopard was classified as Uncia uncia since the early 1930s. Based on genotyping studies, the cat has been considered a member of the genus Panthera since 2008. Two subspecies have been attributed, but genetic differences between the two have not been settled..



Naming and etymology Edit

he species was first described by German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber on the basis of an illustration in his 1777 publication Die Säugethiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. Schreber named the cat Felis uncia and gave its type locality as Barbary, Persia, East India, and China. In 1854, British zoologist John Edward Gray proposed the genus Uncia, to which he subordinated the snow leopard under the name Uncia irbis. British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock corroborated this classification, but attributed the scientific name Uncia uncia. He also described morphological differences between snow leopards and the then-accepted members of Panthera.

The snow leopard is part of the Panthera lineage, one of the eight lineages of Felidae. This lineage comprises the species of Panthera and Neofelis. The Neofelis lineage diverged first from the within the Felinae (see figure). Subsequent branching between snow leopard and clouded leopard began two to three million years ago, but the details of this are disputed.  A 2006 phylogenetic study by Warren E. Johnson (of the National Cancer Institute) and colleagues, based on nDNA and mtDNA analysis, showed that the leopard is sister to two clades within Panthera - one consisting of the tiger and the snow leopard, and the other of the lion and the jaguar.[12] This was seconded by a 2009 study by Lars Werdelin and colleagues.[13] However, the results obtained in a 2010 study by Brian W. Davis (of the Texas A&M University) and colleagues and a 2011 study by Ji H. Mazák (of the Shanghai Science and Technology Museum) and colleagues showed a swapping between the leopard and the jaguar in the cladogram.[14][15] A 2016 study indicates that at some point in their evolution, snow leopards interbred with lions, as their mitochondrial genomes are more similar to each other than their nuclear genomes. From this research, it is indicated that a female hybrid offspring of male ancestors of modern snow leopards and female ancestors of modern lions interbred with the male ancestors of modern snow leopards.

Subspecies Edit

The snow leopard subspecies U. u. baikalensis-romanii was proposed for a population living in the southern Transbaikal region, which requires further evaluation.[2][17] Authors of the Handbook of the Mammals of the World recognize two subspecies, namely U. u. uncia occurring in Mongolia and Russia; and U. u. uncioides living in western China and the Himalayas. Edit


Description Edit

Snow leopards are slightly smaller than the other big cats but, like them, exhibit a range of sizes, generally weighing between 27 and 55 kg (60 and 121 lb), with an occasional large male reaching 75 kg (165 lb) and small female of under 25 kg (55 lb).[19][20] They have a relatively short body, measuring in length from the head to the base of the tail 75 to 150 cm (30 to 60 in).[21] However, the tail is quite long, at 80 to 100 cm (31 to 39 in), with only the domestic-cat-sized marbled cat being relatively longer-tailed.[22][23] They are stocky and short-legged big cats, standing about 60 cm (24 in) at the shoulder.[24]

Snow leopards have long, thick fur, and their base color varies from smoky gray to yellowish tan, with whitish underparts. They have dark grey to black open rosettes on their bodies, with small spots of the same color on their heads and larger spots on their legs and tails. Unusually among cats, their eyes are pale green or grey in color.[22][23]

Snow leopards show several adaptations for living in a cold, mountainous environment. Their bodies are stocky, their fur is thick, and their ears are small and rounded, all of which help to minimize heat loss. Their paws are wide, which distributes their weight better for walking on snow, and have fur on their undersides to increase their grip on steep and unstable surfaces; it also helps to minimize heat loss. Snow leopards' tails are long and flexible, helping them to maintain their balance, which is very important in the rocky terrain they inhabit. Their tails are also very thick due to storage of fat and are very thickly covered with fur which allows them to be used like a blanket to protect their faces when asleep.[23][25]

The snow leopard has a short muzzle and domed forehead, containing unusually large nasal cavities that help the animal breathe the thin, cold air of their mountainous environment.[22]

The snow leopard cannot roar, despite possessing partial ossification of the hyoid bone. This partial ossification was previously thought to be essential for allowing the big cats to roar, but new studies show the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx, which are absent in the snow leopard.[26][27] Snow leopard vocalizations include hisses, chuffing, mews, growls, and wailing.

Snow leopards were only reclassified as a member of the Panthera genus (big cats) following a genetic study by Mr Brian Davis, Dr Gang Li and Professor William Murphy in 2009. This study showed that snow leopards actually evolved alongside tigers and not leopards as previously thought.


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