TRACKS: Who dunnit?

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Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
3,882
5
Dorset
Re the skull and tracks on this thread. Bushwhacker has also recieved an amazing email from an expert. I'm not going to publish it as it was in a PM, but I hope he will post the info on this thread as it makes excellent reading.

This is the e-mail I received.

Paul,

I am sending along what Bill Taylor, our president, said about your photos.

“That skull seems to be about 3.25 inches wide and 5..5 inches (14 centimeters) long. My copy of Young and Goldman includes skull lengths for a lot of cougars, and the rough average length is about 8.3 inches (21 cm) for U.S. males and about 7.5 inches (19 cm) for U.S. females.”

“In other words, the British skull is too small for an adult North American cougar. But it is obviously too big for a domestic cat. So maybe it came from a subadult cougar or one of those intermediate size cats like an ocelot, jagurundi, caracal, or lynx. While the track photos don't show enough heel pad detail, they seem to be about 7 centimeters or slightly under 3 inches in diameter. Again, this is smallish for an adult cougar but way too large for a domestic cat.”

“Britain apparently has a few big cats in several regions, and has big cat organizations, watches, and newsletters. The assumption is that private owners released some cougars, black leopards, and Eurasian lynxes, and that the former two are breeding and maybe even interbreeding. The link at http://www.britishbigcats.org/news.php states that a skull found near Devon in southwestern England was positively identified a cougar in 2005. And the homepage of the British Big Cats Society at: http://www.britishbigcats.org/sightings.php includes more information. Scotland reportedly has a small natural population of European wildcats that are slightly larger and considerable more furry than domestic cats.”

Also, Dr. Pat Rusz believes it is closer to a bobcat or lynx in size. If you do not have many bobcats in your area he believes it is most likely a lynx. But the age he said was probably older. That is because the teeth are not as sharp as they should be for a younger cat.

Dennis also believes that this is a smaller wild cat and older as well, because of the teeth.

I am not sure what your animal laws are on owning wild cats but it could be a more exotic animal brought in and placed in a private collection.

I hope this helps you. I had a lot of fun looking at these photos and so did everyone else that saw them: Dennis, Pat and Bill. Thank you for bringing them to our attention.

Do you mind if I use the photos for a blog post or a Facebook post?

Jennifer

Michigan Wildlife Conservancy
 

Adze

Native
Oct 9, 2009
1,874
0
Cumbria
www.adamhughes.net
I've really enjoyed this thread - a couple of things which occurred to me as i was reading:

Dog tracks without claw marks: I once saw a boxer (dog... called Bruno :rollseyes:) get hit by a car. The dog survived but, as he was dragged a small distance, lost the claws on both front paws. Whether the injury was entirely permanent or not I've no idea as I lost contact with the owner. Could a car strike surviving dog leave a similar track to a cat? (obviously the skull discovery in this case makes the point moot here)

Cross breeding cats: Aren't these really quite rare in the wild and much more common in captivity? Given that the skull of, say a labrador compared to a labrador crossed with a staffie doesn't really resemble either one or the other, can the same be said of interbred cats? If so, does this make the possibility of the site the skull was found being a dump site more likely?

Cheers for a good read!
 
Feb 15, 2011
3,860
1
Elsewhere
Thanks for posting the e-mail Bushwhacker, as it's probably obvious from my earlier posts, I had trouble accepting this skull as belonging to a puma,(size, teeth etc.) & now your message has at least questioned the affirmation that it is indeed a puma....food for thought indeed......:D
 

Bushwhacker

Banned
Jun 26, 2008
3,882
5
Dorset
Thanks for posting the e-mail Bushwhacker, as it's probably obvious from my earlier posts, I had trouble accepting this skull as belonging to a puma,(size, teeth etc.) & now your message has at least questioned the affirmation that it is indeed a puma....food for thought indeed......:D

To be fair I think we were all skeptical at first and it's certainly a good thing to have opposing views.

I think Sherlock sums it up nicely.
"When you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth."
 
Feb 15, 2011
3,860
1
Elsewhere
" Elementary " said he, "It is one of those instances where the reasoner can produce an effect which seems remarkable to his neighbour, because the latter has missed the one little point which is the basis of the deduction "
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
12,679
1,267
Stourton,UK
So, does anybody think it is an oversized domestic? Because the alternative is there are non native large cats free and roaming in dem dar hills.

I don't know whether I posted it here or just shared it with Bushwhacker when talking about it, but when I was in Tanzania in November/December last year, I worked with many experts in different fields and I showed them pictures of this skull. They all said Caracal.
 
Feb 15, 2011
3,860
1
Elsewhere
So, does anybody think it is an oversized domestic? Because the alternative is there are non native large cats free and roaming in dem dar hills.

I don't know whether I posted it here or just shared it with Bushwhacker when talking about it, but when I was in Tanzania in November/December last year, I worked with many experts in different fields and I showed them pictures of this skull. They all said Caracal.


No you hadn't posted it before so thanks for this little gem of info.......
The caracal is more of a probability than a puma for me though the jury is still out on this one :D
" The game's afoot Watson"
 

JonathanD

Ophiological Genius
Sep 3, 2004
12,679
1,267
Stourton,UK
Can't we just buy one of those £100 paternity test kits ;)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

We could, but I'm pretty sure none of us are the father. And I'm not going to the local zoo to get covert samples from any of the big cats either.
 
Last edited:
Feb 15, 2011
3,860
1
Elsewhere
Yes, there was an article about it on radio 4's Today progrmme this morning ..http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-gloucestershire-16760593
Shame about the DNA results but as to be expected given as all types of 'experts' who examine kills & tracks cannot arrive at a positive ID........I'm not a conspiracy theorist but I do suspect a little covering up on these roaming big cats now.:)
I'm with you on this Bushwhacker, no way a fox or foxes could kill a deer nor dismember it in such a way as this carcass has been.:(
 

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