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A team of zoologists at Oxford University compared the brain cavity in the skulls of both animals and found tigers are 16 per cent bigger than lions, leopards and jaguars.
In evolutionary terms, brain size has usually been linked to intelligence.
Academics have always thought that social species, such as lions, should have larger brains than solitary species, such as tigers, because of the need to handle a more complex social life within groups or prides.
“What we had not expected is that the tiger has clearly much bigger relative brain size than do the other three species, which all have similar relative brain sizes,” said Dr Nobby Yamaguchi, the author of the study at Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit.
“When we compare the two biggest species, on average, the lion has a bigger skull than the tiger based on the greatest length of the skull.
“However, the tiger has bigger cranial volume than the lion. It is truly amazing that tiny female Balinese tiger skulls have cranial volumes as large as those of huge male southern African lion skulls.
“Unfortunately we have no other evidence to suggest that tigers are more intelligent than lions.”
The team studied the skulls of 370 lions, 225 tigers, 32 jaguars, and 42 leopards from museums around the world for the research that was published in Biological Journal of the Linnean Society.
Thu, May 26, 2011 8:18 AM
KingOfEurope wrote:Nice work Peter. I enjoy reading your posts.Here is the info upon greatest skull length of lions inKruger (from Yamaguchi), along with Bali and Indiantigers. The sample was 15 lions and the average length was 380 mm (14.9 inches). So, all in all, we can safely say that lions do indeed have longer skulls than any tiger subspecies. However, it seems that even the much smallerBali tigers have a greater Cranial volume than lions.Lioness and tigress (probably younger -- color of nose).
Leo & Shere Khan at Noah's Ark in Locust Grovehttp://www.flickr.com/photos/visithenrycountygeorgia/5392529237/in/photostreamThought so, that lions face just reminded me of a lion i once saw, the rub on his nose is also unique as well.Now the difference in skull size is not that different, the lions seems to be the longer of the two, by a slight difference, however very noticable in pictures. The width? Well they are about the same, in some cases I've seen wider tiger skulls and I've seen wider lion skulls, I am unsure of maximums.
Long Live The Two King Of Beasts!
Thu, May 26, 2011 1:32 PM
Tigers have multiple times been noted for their intellect. Jim Corbett has stated that a (man-eating) tiger is capable of distinguishing between an armed man and a helpless victim.
Thu, May 26, 2011 3:10 PM
peter wrote:1 - AMUR TIGER SKULLS Mazak only measured 21 Amur tiger skulls (9 males and 12 females). In his book (third edition), he didn't state anything on status (wild or captive) and his sample was too small to get to conclusions. But he, as far as I know, was the only one who tried to get to an average for Amur tigers. Meaning we have no option but to use his average for adult males (367,1 mm. in greatest length).2 - MY TABLE ON LION SKULLSThe skulls I measured, apart from three, were WILD skulls. The three captive skulls were, however, well over average in greatest total length. One of the captive skulls belonged to a 300,7 cm. (total length in a straight line) male lion. This animal was measured and weighed (280 kg.) by Dr. P. van Bree. Another captive skull also was very large. The third was just over average as well. I will construct two new tables in a few months (wild and captive). In general, wild skulls are fractionally longer and substantially narrower. The main difference between wild and captive skulls is in bone structure and shape. Wild skulls, although narrower and higher (at the orbit), are more massive and heavier. Captive skulls, although wider, are not as robust (especially in the jaws and the teeth).The average I found (a little over 355 mm.) for male lions was similar to the average for wild male Indian skulls Pocock found. The difference between African lions and Indian tigers, for skull length, is in range. There are much more lions and that's why lions show a wider range. 3 - HOLLISTERHollister's sample was very small (<10) and the lions he shot were well over average in total length (one of the males was 298 cm. in a straight line, which is quite exceptional). Kruger lions, according to Yamaguchi, also had very long skulls. But Patterson (2004) stated adult male lions in central Africa averaged about 13,5 inches in greatest skull length. Same for Indian lions (Pocock). Meaning it depends on the region and the sample. The rest of the information in the scan you posted is quite incorrect (regarding the length and skull size of lions). 4 - LIONS AND TIGERSModern Indian tigers, according to what I found, average 280-285 cm. in a straight line (total length) and roundabout 210 kg., whereas large lion subspecies could average 267-275 cm. and 185-195 kg. Meaning large lion subspecies, for their size, have relatively longer skulls. But not quite in absolute terms. The difference in absolutes, although lion skulls show more range (and, for that reason) and produce the largest skulls, is very limited. Same for extra large subspecies. Amur lions (southern Africa) could have slightly larger skulls than Amur tigers, but the difference in absolutes is, again, very limited. And don't forget there's plenty of records for lions and only very few for Amur tigers (skulls). Charlie Russell ( in 'Grizzly Heart', 2002) visited the Chabarowsk Natural History Museum a decade ago and saw a lot of brown bear and Amur tiger skulls. He said the difference in size between both was marginal and was flabberghasted at the size of the skulls. But he, of course, didn't measure skulls. I would, if the opportunity was offered.
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