View Full Version : New species of Leopard found on Sumatra and Borneo

Mar 15, 2007, 09:21 AM
Clouded leopards found on Sumatra and Borneo represent a new species, research by genetic scientists and the conservation group WWF indicates.

Until now it had been thought they belonged to the species that is found on mainland southeast Asia.

Scientists now believe the two species diverged more than one million years ago, and have evolved separately since.

Clouded leopards are the biggest predators on Borneo, and can grow as large as small panthers.

- BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6452555.stm)

Don't panic
Mar 15, 2007, 09:32 AM
- BBC (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/6452555.stm)

they didn't "find" a new species, just reclassified a well known one as a separate one.

Mar 15, 2007, 10:35 AM
* Lewis Smith, Environment Reporter
* March 15, 2007

A LEOPARD can, after all, change its spots: a new species of big cat has been identified for the first time in almost two centuries.

The big cats prowling the jungles of Borneo and Sumatra had long been assumed to be the same clouded leopards that are found in mainland Asia.

Genetic analysis and comparisons of fur patterns have now shown the two animals to be as distinct as the lion and the tiger, the WWF announced yesterday. Among the findings that convinced scientists was the realisation that the Bornean cat has changed the number and prominence of its spots.

The cats have now been reclassified as the Bornean clouded leopard, with the name Neofelis diardi, to distinguish them from other clouded leopards, Neofelis nebulosa.

The two species, both endangered, are shown by genetic analysis to have separated 1.4 million years ago, after the animals used a land bridge, now covered by water, from mainland Asia to reach Borneo and Sumatra.

Clouded leopards, found in China, Nepal and northeast India, were described in 1821 by the British naturalist Edward Griffiths and were the last of the big cats to be discovered.

Scientists classified the Bornean cat as a subspecies in the late 19th century — yet failed to notice that it was a totally different species. They were hampered by the secretive nature of the nocturnal animal, which lives in remote forest areas, and by there being only 57 specimens in museums worldwide.

Andrew Kitchener, of the Department of Natural Sciences, National Museums Scotland, who led the study of fur patterns, found that the Bornean leopard had smaller cloud-shaped markings than the mainland cat, a double stripe along the back instead of a single one, more spots within each cloud and a darker coloration.

“It’s incredible that no one has noticed these differences,” he said. “The moment we started comparing the skins of the mainland leopard and the leopard found on Borneo, it was clear we were comparing two species.”

The genetic findings were even more conclusive, said Stephen O’Brien, of the US National Cancer Institute, who led that analysis. “DNA tests high-lighted around 40 differences.”

Stuart Chapman, of the WWF, said: “The fact that Borneo’s top predator is considered a separate species further emphasises the importance of conserving the Heart of Borneo.”

I guess we get two new leopards this year :D

Mar 15, 2007, 10:36 AM
I hope you like people whining at you!

Mar 15, 2007, 10:37 AM
I hope you like people whining at you!

aww crap =[ i didnt see it

Mar 15, 2007, 10:53 AM
Gorgeous. Just stunning... *dreamy sigh* I love cats. Thanks for posting this OP, otherwise I probably never would have heard about this new 'species.'

Mar 15, 2007, 11:18 AM
That leopard looks hardcore. Awesome.

Mar 15, 2007, 11:19 AM
Wow! That guy looks awesome!

Cult Follower
Mar 15, 2007, 11:27 AM
They might as well add OS X 0.5 to their list while they're at it.

Mar 15, 2007, 12:34 PM
Come on...this deserved a more sensationalistic headline:

"Leopards future cloudy" or
"Copies of latest leopard found in the wild" or
"Leopard announcement: only 5,000 to 11,000 available"

Mar 16, 2007, 12:41 AM
Come on...this deserved a more sensationalistic headline:

"Leopards future cloudy" or
"Copies of latest leopard found in the wild" or
"Leopard announcement: only 5,000 to 11,000 available"

Leopard 1.5 million years in development.

Mar 16, 2007, 08:12 AM
I guess we get two new leopards this year :D

That is exactly what I was thinking- although I was hoping for the other one to be released first. :D

Mar 17, 2007, 06:06 PM
I saw this on the 1 o'clock news, newsround :p, 6 o'clock and 10 o'clock news. It is the fittest cat ever haha.