Panthera leo fossilis

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Panthera leo fossilis or Panthera fossilis
Temporal range: Middle Pleistocene
Panthera leo cf fossilis - radius - Ambrona.JPG
Radius (from Ambrona)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Carnivora
Suborder: Feliformia
Family: Felidae
Subfamily: Pantherinae
Genus: Panthera
P. l. fossilis
Trinomial name
Panthera leo fossilis
(Reichenau, 1906)

Panthera leo fossilis is a fossil cat of the genus Panthera, which was first excavated near Mauer in Germany, and lived during the Upper Pleistocene.[1] Bone fragments of P. l. fossilis were also excavated near Pakefield in the United Kingdom, which are estimated at 680,000 years old.[2] Bone fragments excavated near Isernia in Italy are estimated at between 600,000 and 620,000 years old;[3] the first Asian record of a fossilis lion was found in the Kuznetsk Basin in western Siberia and dates to the late Early Pleistocene.[4]


P. fossilis is estimated to have evolved in Eurasia about 700,000 years ago.[5]


Bone fragments of P. l. fossilis indicate that it was larger than the modern lion and had a slightly wider skull and nasals, smaller orbits, less inflated bullae, less specialized lower teeth, reduced lower premolars and smaller incisors.[6]

Taxonomic history[edit]

P. l. fossilis was considered an early lion subspecies.[3] Some authors considered it a subspecies of Panthera spelaea, namely Panthera spelaea fossilis.[7][8]

Results of mitochondrial genome sequences derived from two Beringian specimens indicate that it was so distinct from the modern lion to be considered a species, Panthera fossilis.[9]


This lion coexisted with early humans and prehistoric fauna.[10] A mandible from the early hominid Homo heidelbergensis was excavated in 1907 at Mauer, Germany.[11]

Herbivores that coexisted with the lion included the hippopotamus, narrow-nosed rhinoceros, straight-tusked elephant, mammoth and fallow deer. Sympatric predators included bears, wolves, hyenas and sabre-toothed cats.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Reichenau, W. V. (1906). "Beiträge zur näheren Kenntnis der Carnivoren aus den Sanden von Mauer und Mosbach". Abhandlungen der Großherzoglichen Hessischen Geologischen Landesanstalt zu Darmstadt. 4 (2): 125.
  2. ^ Lewis, M., Pacher, M., Turner, A. (2010). "The larger Carnivora of the West Runton Freshwater Bed". Quaternary International. 228 (1–2): 116–135. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2010.06.022.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ a b Sala, B. (1990). "Panthera leo fossilis (v. Reichenau, 1906) (Felidae) de Iserna la Pineta (Pléistocene moyen inférieur d'Italie)". Géobios. 23 (23): 189–194. doi:10.1016/S0016-6995(06)80051-3.
  4. ^ Sotnikova, M.V., Foronova, I.V. (2014). "First Asian record of Panthera (Leo) fossilis (Mammalia, Carnivora, Felidae) in the Early Pleistocene of Western Siberia, Russia". Integrative Zoology. 9 (4): 517–530. doi:10.1111/1749-4877.12082.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Burger, J.; Rosendahl, W.; Loreille, O.; Hemmer, H.; Eriksson, T.; Götherström, A.; Hiller, J.; Collins, M. J.; Wess, T.; Alt, K. W. (2004). "Molecular phylogeny of the extinct cave lion Panthera leo spelaea". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 30 (3): 841–849. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2003.07.020. PMID 15012963. Retrieved 2011-12-17.
  6. ^ Sabol, M. (2014). "Panthera fossilis (Reichenau, 1906) (Felidae, Carnivora) from Za Hájovnou Cave (Moravia, The Czech Republic): A Fossil Record from 1987-2007". Acta Musei Nationalis Pragae, Series B, Historia Naturalis. 70 (1–2): 59–70. doi:10.14446/AMNP.2014.59.
  7. ^ Marciszak, A.; Stefaniak, K. (2010). "Two forms of cave lion: Middle Pleistocene Panthera spelaea fossilis Reichenau, 1906 and Upper Pleistocene Panthera spelaea spelaea Goldfuss, 1810 from the Bísnik Cave, Poland". Neues Jahrbuch für Geologie und Paläontologie - Abhandlungen. 258 (3): 339–351. doi:10.1127/0077-7749/2010/0117.
  8. ^ Marciszak, A.; Schouwenburg, C.; Darga, R. (2014). "Decreasing size process in the cave (Pleistocene) lion Panthera spelaea (Goldfuss, 1810) evolution – A review". Quaternary International. Fossil remains in karst and their role in reconstructing Quaternary paleoclimate and paleoenvironments. 339–340: 245–257. doi:10.1016/j.quaint.2013.10.008.
  9. ^ Barnett, R.; Mendoza, M. L. Z.; Soares, A. E. R.; Ho, S. Y. W.; Zazula, G.; Yamaguchi, N.; Shapiro, B.; Kirillova, I. V.; Larson, G.; Gilbert, M. T. P. (2016). "Mitogenomics of the Extinct Cave Lion, Panthera spelaea (Goldfuss, 1810), resolve its position within the Panthera cats". Open Quaternary. 2: 4. doi:10.5334/oq.24.
  10. ^ a b Jackson, D. (2010). "Introduction". Lion. London: Reaktion Books. pp. 1–21. ISBN 978-1861897350.
  11. ^ Schoetensack, O. (1908). Der Unterkiefer des Homo heidelbergensis aus den Sanden von Mauer bei Heidelberg. Ein Beitrag zur Paläontologie des Menschen. Leipzig: Engelmann.