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Temporal range: Late Miocene - Recent, 5.95–0 Ma
|External identifiers for Panthera|
|Encyclopedia of Life||14134|
|Also found in:|
Panthera is a genus within the Felidae family that was named and first described by the German naturalist Oken in 1816. The British taxonomist Pocock revised the classification of this genus in 1916 as comprising the species lion, tiger, jaguar, and leopard on the basis of cranial features. Results of genetic analysis indicate that the snow leopard also belongs to the Panthera, a classification that was accepted by IUCN assessors in 2008.
Only the tiger, lion, leopard and jaguar have the anatomical structure that enables them to roar. The primary reason for this was formerly assumed to be the incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone. However, new studies show the ability to roar is due to other morphological features, especially of the larynx. The snow leopard does not roar. Although it has an incomplete ossification of the hyoid bone, it lacks the special morphology of the larynx.
The word panther derives from classical Latin panthēra, itself from the ancient Greek pánthēr (πάνθηρ). The Greek pan- (πάν), meaning "all", and thēr (θήρ), meaning "prey" bears the meaning of "predator of all animals". Use of the word for a beast originated in antiquity in the Orient, probably from India to Persia to Greece.
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