Cranial morphometric variations of Persian leopard (Panthera pardus saxicolor) from the Zagros mountains and northern and northeastern mountainous areas based on Geometric morphometric analysis
Persian leopard is considered as the largest feline in Iran, which has the wide distribution along the Alborz and the Zagros mountains. Considering the differences in climate, vegetation types, dietary habits, as well as the substantial fragmentation in their habitats in the two mountainous areas, morphological variation of the species in the two areas it looks probable. A landmark-based geometric morphometric analysis was performed using high quality 2D pictures from the dorsal, lateral, and ventral views of 42 Persian leopardʼs skulls. Procrust Analysis was used to remove the effect of none-shape parameters in landmark points and Discriminant Analysis was carried out to verify the differences between skulls in the two study areas. Our results revealed that the skulls of the two ranges of mountains are different in their overall shape, as we found the significant differences in zygomatic arch, occipital bone and nasal suture of frontal bone between the two dataset. This could be resulted from different allometric growth pattern, habitat characteristics and environmental parameters, and genetic variation among the populations of the species in this two geographic ranges.
Journal of Natural Environment, Volume:72 Issue:2, 2019
187 - 198
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