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Sotnikova, M.; Nikolskiy, P.
Systematic position of the cave lion _Panthera spelea_ (Goldfuss) based on cranial and dental characters
2006  Quarternary International (142-143): 218-228

Well-preservedskulls of Late Pleistocene _Panthera spelaea_ are described from two geographically distant regions of Russia situated in the Russian Plain and Northern Siberia. The resemblance of the studied material with contemporaneous fossil lions from Alaska is established. The cranial morphology of _P. spelaea c_onfirms its phylogenetic position within the lion group, whereas many of the characters supporting the cave lion's relationship with the tiger are primitive. Both living and cave lions are advanced relative to the Middle Pleistocene_ P. fossilis _in having larger upper incisors and more inflated bullae._ P. spelaea _also possesses the following advanced characters in common with the living lion: widened muzzle in the canine and P2 areas, wide nasal bones, relatively short pre-orbital part of the skull, laterally widened mastoid area, V-shaped form of the posterior tip of the frontal process of maxillary bone, and reduced cusp on the protocone bulge of P4. These conditions establish _P. spelaea_ as a distinct species.

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