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Asoka3 t1_je7q7xa wrote

I learnt a new word, nice. Just did a quick search and they do appear to be different speciecs.

"Compared to African cheetahs, the Asiatic cheetah is smaller but has a thicker coat, a more powerful neck, and slender legs. Many believe that they could be faster than the African species with longer legs, but no tests have confirmed this theory.",tests%20have%20confirmed%20this%20theory.


thethpunjabi OP t1_je7ynun wrote

They’re all the same species, Acinonyx jubatus. Just different subspecies (Acinonyx jubatus jubatus and Acinonyx jubatus venaticus) and genetic studies show a separation of only 32,000 and 67,000 years between the Asiatic subspecies and African subspecies.

Citation: Charruau, P.; Fernandes, C.; Orozco-Terwengel, P.; Peters, J.; Hunter, L.; Ziaie, H.; Jourabchian, A.; Jowkar, H.; Schaller, G. & Ostrowski, S. (2011). "Phylogeography, genetic structure and population divergence time of cheetahs in Africa and Asia: evidence for long-term geographic isolates". Molecular Ecology. 20 (4): 706–724. doi:10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04986.x. PMC 3531615. PMID 21214655.


Malthesse t1_je8y7q6 wrote

To add, the whole concept of subspecies is of course quite vague and iffy to begin with and constantly changes.

For example, until quite recently there were said to be as many as six different living subspecies of tiger – but now the Bengal, Siberian, South China, Indochinese and Malayan tigers have all been lumped into a single subspecies as the Mainland tiger, with only the Sumatran tiger still being recognised as a separate subspecies, now under the name Sunda tiger along with the extinct Bali and Javan tigers.

In a similar way, the African and Asian lions were previously regarded as different subspecies as well, but now they are instead divided into a northern subspecies which covers Asia and northern and western Africa, and a southern subspecies that covers eastern and southern Africa.

So it is very possible that the subspecies of the cheetah will be reclassified as well in the near future, especially since alls cheetah populations seem to very closely related from having gone through quite recent population bottlenecks.


Sh4rkinfestedcustard t1_je9mn24 wrote

I wouldn’t put much stock in there being two tiger subspecies. There have been recent developments using whole genome sequencing that would suggest that the original six stand. Lions are a little less hotly debated, whole genome data appears to concur with previous findings.

It’s a real pain that we don’t have standardised criteria across the field for what constitutes a subspecies.


Sh4rkinfestedcustard t1_je7z4qw wrote

Different subspecies, rather than species. Unfortunately, there’s still enough distinction that this whole reintroduction may well be less than ideal for the cheetahs and the ecosystem. Time will tell.