Leopards In Italy? Oh My! New Findings Show That The Landscape Of Italy Was Once A Very Different Place

– Evidence has come forth from the Po Valley, San Daniele region of Italy that in the time of the Neanderthals, the region had something in common with parts of Africa and Asia, where large carnivorous spotted cats can be found in modern times.

A fossilized leopard’s right shinbone was discovered in the summer of 2014 by amateur scientist Renato Bandera in northern Italy near the harbor entrance of the city of Cremona, on the banks of the Po River.

This challenges the previous assumption that these big cats were only found in the Alps in northern Italy and the Apennines in central and southern Italy during the Ice Age, 2.6 million to 11,700 years ago.

The fossil was donated to the Paleoanthropological Museum of Po in San Daniele Po, Italy. Paleontologist Davide Persico of the University of Parma says that the shinbone comes from a young male leopard or a large female based on its size.

The animal weighed around 88-99 lbs. (40-45 kg.), and was about 3.6 feet (110 cm.) long with a 2.8 foot (85 cm.) long tail. Davide Persico, Martin Sabol and Emiliano Troco published these findings online March 1st, 2017 in the journal Quaternary International.

The fossil has not been conclusively dated, but other fossils in the same area have been shown to date from around 180,000 years ago or later.

Other animal fossils found in this area dating to the time when Neanderthal man roamed the region include straight-tusked elephants, steppe bison, wooly mammoths, giant deer, rhinos, elk, and more rare fossilized remains of bears, wolves, hyenas, and foxes.

Leopards have been used historically to symbolize power and authority. Kings and chiefs in Africa, as well as priests in ancient Egypt used the leopard pelt to show their status.

In the Benin Empire, a pre-colonial empire located in what is now southern Nigeria, the leopard was considered king of the forest and was used to symbolize the power of the king or oba. There are many representations of this majestic animal in their art and sculpture. One example is the water vessel shown above.

Written by Thalia Lightbringer – MessageToEagle.com

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