Fossils of early leopard ancestors have been found in East Africa and South Asia from the Pleistocene of 2 to 3.5 Ma. The modern leopard is suggested to have evolved in Africa 470,000–825,000 years ago and radiated across Asia 170,000–300,000 years ago.
In Europe, the leopard is known at least since the Pleistocene. Fossil leopard bones and teeth dating from the Pliocene were found in Perrier in France, northeast of London, and in Valdarno in Italy. At 40 sites in Europe fossil bones and dental remains of leopards dating from the Pleistocene were excavated mostly in loess and caves. The sites of these fossil records range from near Lisbon, near Gibraltar, and Santander Province in northern Spain to several sites in France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, in the north up to Derby in England, in the east to Přerov in the Czech Republic and the Baranya in southern Hungary. The Pleistocene leopards of Europe can be divided into four subsequent subspecies. The first European leopard subspecies P. p. begoueni is known since the beginning of the early Pleistocene and was replaced about 600.000 years ago by P. p. sickenbergi, which in turn was replaced by P. p. antiqua at around 300.000 years ago. The last form, the Late Pleistocene Ice Age leopard (P. p. spelaea) appeared at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene and survived until about 24.000 years ago in large parts of Europe.
Tags: Photo journalism
Wildlife and nature
cabbie, kathrynlouise, nonur and 61 more