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10 fascinating facts about tigers
July 19, 2018, 9:28 a.m.
Tigers are the most iconic of the big cat species. They’re also the biggest of all the felines. (Photo: Arangan Ananth/Shutterstock)
There’s a reason tigers are a common symbol of power in various Asian cultures: They’re charismatic creatures that lead solitary lives but seem ferocious all the same.
Given our fascination with them, we know a fair bit about tigers, but there’s always more to learn about these felines.
1. Tigers are old, at least on a human scale. The oldest known tiger ancestor, the Longdan tiger (Panthera zdanskyi) dates back some 2.15 million to 2.55 million years. According to researchers, the remains of the tiger, found in China’s Gansu Province, “is morphologically surprisingly similar to extant tigers,” albeit it with some differences in head and teeth size. It’s likely, then, that the Longdan tiger is located relatively far away on the family tree from tiger species still in existence today.
2. Tigers are able to survive in a variety of conditions. Tigers are “tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions,” from rainforests to mountains. “They can live in temperatures ranging from minus 35 degrees Celsius (minus 31 degrees Fahrenheit) in Russia to 48 C in India [and] they can adapt to annual rainfall as low as 600 millimeters to as high as 8,000 millimeters,” Ullas Karanth, director for Asia at the Wildlife Conservation Society, told Business Insider.