Jakarta, IO – Chinese scientists have identified an extinct, deeply divergent tiger lineage. The paleontologists found a more complex evolutionary picture of the big cat species through a fossil found in Northeast China.
According to a report by Antara, the researchers from the Wuhan-based China University of Geosciences found that the ancient lineage split from modern tigers about 268,000 years ago, more than twice the known age of modern tigers’ ancestors living around 125,000 years ago.
Part of the tiger’s lower jaw was found in the Da’an karst cave in northeast China’s Jilin Province. The cave is located in the tiger’s historical range and is currently the habitat of the Amur Tiger.
Analysis of the fossil’s residual DNA showed that the jawbone did not belong to a hyena, but to a tiger of an unknown lineage. According to research published in the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society B recently, the fossils date back to more than 40,000 years ago. (un)