Locating specimens of extinct tiger (Panthera tigris) subspecies: Javan tiger (P.t. sondaica), Balinese tiger (P.t. balica), and Caspian tiger (P.t. virgata), including previously unpublished specimens - NMS Research Repository
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Locating specimens of extinct tiger (Panthera tigris) subspecies: Javan tiger (P.t. sondaica), Balinese tiger (P.t. balica), and Caspian tiger (P.t. virgata), including previously unpublished specimens

5 June 2013

Abstract

Recent advances in multivariate statistics, and in ancient DNA techniques, have greatly increased understanding of tiger phylogeography. However, regardless of advances in analytical methodology, researchers will continue to need access to specimens for morphological measurements and sampling for genetic analysis. The tiger has become increasingly endangered, and out of the nine putative tiger subspecies, three (Javan, Balinese, and Caspian) have become extinct in the last 100 years, leaving the specimens kept in natural history collections as the only materials available for research. Frustratingly little information is widely available concerning the specimens of these extinct tiger subspecies. We conducted an extensive search for specimens of extinct tiger subspecies, and also developed a simple on-site method to assign unprovenanced and probable Indonesian specimens to either Javan/Balinese or Sumatran subspecies. We located a total of 88 Javan, 11 Balinese, and 46 Caspian tigers, including seven new Javan tigers, and three Balinese tigers that were not widely known previously. These specimens are critical for research in order to understand the intraspecific phylogeny and evolutionary history of the tiger.

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