A new study suggests that there are six and not two separate subspecies of tigers left in the world. According…
A new study suggests that there are six and not two separate subspecies of tigers left in the world. According to a report from New York Times these results may provide better guidance for conservation groups hoping to save the extinction animal from extinction.
Before the new study, researchers initially thought that tigers could be classified into five subspecies. Gizmodo wrote that this changed in 2015 when researchers found that the classification of tigers was as simple as dividing them into two subspecies – one found on the mainland and another in Sumatra and other Indonesian islands. By 2017, this system was recommended for two types of species by the International Specialist for the Conservation of Nature’s Cat Specialist Group as the ideal system for preventing the tiger population from further decline.
However, this guidance was challenged by Peking University Scientist and studied lead writer Shi-Jun Luo and her colleagues in a paper published Thursday in the journal Current Biology . Compared to 1
4 years ago, when Luo first presented his theory that tigers have six living subspecies, the team used newer and more advanced methods and genomics to conduct a thorough analysis of 32 conserved wildlife samples.
The new results confirmed that there are six living tiger subspecies – Amur, Bengal, Indochinese, Malay, South Chinese and Sumatran. Three other subspecies identified first in the 1930s – Bali, Caspian and Javantigra – proved to have expired in the last 70 years.
As noted by The New York Times fewer than 4,000 tigers are currently surviving in nature. This is a figure that is drastically lower than the estimated 100,000 tigers that lived around a hundred years ago before human factors such as poaching and food degradation caused their numbers to decrease. A subspecies, South China tiger, only exists in captivity at present.
The researchers also discovered that all tiger subspecies last had a common ancestor about 110,000 years ago with this being believed to have existed in what is now known as Southeast Asia and southern China. This was the time the species thought had spread to other parts of Asia because of a population collapse driven by climate change.
Because of this population collapse, all living tigers subspecies their own genetic traits that set them apart from each other. These include Sumatran tigers, who were the first to deviate from their common ancestor and have genes that allowed them to develop smaller bodies than other subspecies.
“In India and Siberia, tigers rush on large ungulates, but in Sumatra they are addicted to more on wild boar and less deer. It is a good idea that smaller bytes would exert selective pressure for smaller tigers,” Luo says.
In a statement quoted by the New York Times Luo said that her teamwork is important for saving the genetic diversity of tigers as important as preventing the animals from dying.
“To preserve such genomic signatures is to preserve evolutionary uniqueness to Tigers have accumulated for thousands of years. We must respect this unique by maximizing our efforts for all tiger subspecies. “
While Luo and her team believe that reclassification of tigers in six subspecies may be more advantageous than the previous two subspecies, other experts believe that the use of advanced techniques to analyze the tiger’s genome will not make a sufficiently significant impact in Ullas Karanth of the Wildlife Conservation Society told the New York Times that the populations of some subspecies, especially the Indian and Russian tigers, are “just too small” to be rescued by reclassification .