12.8×19.5 colored pencil on black. Original available.
As of 07-01-14, 910 views and 4 favorited.
NOTE: This is the final cat in the “Anger” series. I’m still not sure if I want to continue doing any other animals as it’s not easy to find “angry” critters – any volunteers or ideas?
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In the past, many taxonomists included the snow leopard in the genus Panthera, together with the other largest extant felids, but later it was placed in its own genus, Uncia. It was thought not to be closely related to the leopard (Panthera pardus). However, a recent molecular study placed the species firmly within the genus Panthera, its closest relative being the tiger (Panthera tigris). Its exact position remains unclear, and many sources still treat it as Uncia pending further studies.
A few subspecies have been proposed for animals living in different geographical regions. With the possible exception of U. u. baikalensis-romanii, which requires further evaluation, these subspecies were generally not considered valid. The Handbook of the Mammals of the World recognizes two subspecies: U. u. uncia, from central Asia northwestwards to Mongolia and Russia; and U. u. uncioides in western China and the Himalayas.
Etymology Both the Latinised genus name Uncia and the occasional English name “ounce” are derived from the Old French once, originally used for the European lynx. “Once” itself is believed to have arisen by back-formation from an earlier word “lonce” – the “L” of “lonce” was construed as an abbreviated “le” (“the”), leaving “once” to be perceived as the animal’s name. This, like the English version “ounce”, became used for other lynx-sized cats, and eventually for the snow-leopard.
The snow leopard is also known in its native lands as shan (Ladakhi), irves (Mongolian: ирвэс), bars or barys (Kazakh: барыс [ˈbɑrəs]) and barfani chita – “snow cheetah” (Urdu) (info from Wikipedia).