Anomalous Jaguars and Other Speckled Mystery Cats From South America

Posted by: Karl Shuker on March 13th, 2014

Jardine’s enigmatic 19th-Century illustration of a putative speckle-coated jaguar

I was pleased to learn a few days ago that the long-awaited paper that I obliquely alluded to in my book Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012), providing an extensive morphometric analysis of two skulls from two different types of Peruvian mystery big cat, has finally been published (click here to access it). It is co-authored by British palaeontologist Dr Darren Naish, who also has a longstanding interest in cryptozoology. The two mystery cats whose skulls are featured in the analysis are what another of this paper’s four co-authors, Peru-based zoologist Dr Peter J. Hocking (who also obtained the skulls), originally called the speckled tiger (‘tiger’ being a prevalent term throughout Latin America for the jaguar Panthera onca) but which is renamed the Anomalous jaguar in the paper, and what Hocking originally called the striped tiger but which is renamed the Peruvian tiger in the paper. Based upon the results of the analysis, in which both skulls were shown to fall within the documented range for the jaguar, the paper’s authors conclude that these specimens were indeed jaguars, but ones that exhibited aberrant pelage markings.

Further details can be found here on my ShukerNature blog.

For plenty of additional information concerning a wide diversity of South American mystery cats, be sure to check out my two mystery cat books – Mystery Cats of the World (1989) and Cats of Magic, Mythology, and Mystery (2012).

Karl Shuker About Karl Shuker
My name is Dr Karl P.N. Shuker. I am a zoologist (BSc & PhD), media consultant, and the author of 25 books and hundreds of articles, specialising in cryptozoology and animal mythology. I have a BSc (Honours) degree in pure zoology from the University of Leeds (U.K.), and a PhD in zoology and comparative physiology from the University of Birmingham (U.K.). I have acted jointly as consultant and major contributor to three multi-author volumes on cryptozoology and other mysterious phenomena. I am the Life Sciences Consultant to The Guinness Book of Records/Guinness World Records (Guinness: London, 1997-present day), and was consultant to Monsters (Lorenz Books: London, 2001), as well as a contributor to Mysteries of the Deep (Llewellyn: St Paul, 1998), Guinness Amazing Future (Guinness: London, 1999), The Earth (Channel 4 Books: London, 2000), and Chambers Dictionary of the Unexplained (Chambers: London, 2007). I appear regularly on television & radio, was a consultant for the Discovery TV series Into the Unknown, and a question setter for the BBC's quiz show Mastermind. I am a Scientific Fellow of the Zoological Society of London, a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society, a Member of the Society of Authors, and the Cryptozoology Consultant for the Centre for Fortean Zoology (CFZ). I have written articles for numerous publications, including Fortean Times, The X Factor, Paranormal Magazine, FATE, Strange Magazine, Prediction, Beyond, Uri Geller's Encounters, Phenomena, Alien Encounters, Wild About Animals, All About Cats, All About Dogs, Cat World, etc. In 2005, I was honoured by the naming of a new species of loriciferan invertebrate after me - Pliciloricus shukeri.

One Response to “Anomalous Jaguars and Other Speckled Mystery Cats From South America”

  1. DWA responds:

    There doesn’t appear anything in the article to suggest a finding outside of “jaguar with anomalous coat,” one of those random mutations that happen.

    Not saying what it is. But one would want more evidence of a separate species.

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