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Keywords:

  • Tegelen;
  • Felidae;
  • Panthera gombaszoegensis;
  • sexual dimorphism

The Plio-Pleistocene site of Tegelen in the Netherlands contains some of the oldest evidence for the presence of the medium-sized pantherine felid of the European Pleistocene, Panthera gombaszoegensis, based on published fragmentary dental specimens. Measurements of these specimens, together with those from other localities, suggest that earlier representatives of the species are small, but one of a small number of previously unstudied specimens from the site now indicates the presence of a larger pantherine individual. Such a size difference could point to the presence of a second species, or suggest that the Tegelen deposits encompass a longer time span than has been supposed. Either of these would have serious implications; the first would increase the complexity of the early Pleistocene carnivore guild, and the second would threaten the status of Tegelen as a type site in the European Pleistocene biostratigraphic scheme. However, consideration of the size range in sexed samples of extant pantherines in conjunction with a re-examination of the size distributions in the hypodigm of P. gombaszoegensis suggests that sexual dimorphism offers a more plausible interpretation.