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Leopard

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In Europe, the leopard occurred at least since the Pleistocene. Leopard-like fossil bones and teeth possibly dating to the Pliocene were excavated in Perrier in France, northeast of London, and in Valdarno, Italy. Until 1940, similar fossils dating back to the Pleistocene were excavated mostly in loess and caves at 40 sites in Europe, including Furninha Cave near Lisbon, Genista Caves in Gibraltar, and Santander Province in northern Spain to several sites across France, Switzerland, Italy, Austria, Germany, in the north up to Derby in England, in the east to Přerov in the Czech Republic and the Baranya in southern Hungary, Leopard fossils dating to the Late Pleistocene were found in Biśnik Cave in south-central Poland. The oldest known leopard fossils excavated in Europe are about 600,000 years old and were found in the Grotte du Vallonnet in France and near Mauer in Germany. Four European Pleistocene leopard subspecies were proposed. P. p. begoueni from the beginning of the Early Pleistocene was replaced about 0. 6 million years ago by P. p. sickenbergi, which in turn was replaced by P. p. antiqua around 0. 3 million years ago. The most recent, P. spelaea, appeared at the beginning of the Late Pleistocene and survived until about 24,000 years ago in several parts of Europe.

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