Degree Name

MS (Master of Science)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Steven C. Wallace

Committee Members

Blaine Schubert, James I. Mead


Over the past 20 years both morphological and molecular phylogenies have been proposed for extant and extinct members of the family Felidae. However, there remain several discrepancies, particularly within the genus Panthera and the position of Panthera atrox. Consequently, morphologic characters from the skull and dentary were analyzed within Panthera (including all extant and one extinct taxa) to gain a better understanding of pantherine phylogeny. Multiple specimens of each taxon were analyzed, including: P. leo, P. tigris, P. onca, P. pardus , Uncia uncia, and Neofelis nebulosa. Four outgroups were used; Crocuta crocuta, Metailurus ssp., Proailurus lemanensis, and Pseudaelurus validus. From each phylogeny created, despite the outgroup, apparent grouping between Panthera leo, P. tigris, and P. atrox was present. Therefore, P. atrox is likely more closely related to the African lion and the tiger than the jaguar, in contrast to what has been recently suggested.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.