Cougar called a panther if it's not in the panthera

Cougar called a panther if it's not in the panthera

Animals in New locations are often named after more familiar similar animals that the people are more familiar with. Panthers originally referred to leopards, especially black ones. Cougar are large cats, like leopards (if only on the vaguest level) and thus some people referred to them as panthers. Similar reasoning behind the name mountain lion.

European settlers also thought jaguars resembled leopards, and so called them Panthers too. The fact that they ended up being in the same genus is a happy accident. Lions and Tigers are technically panthers too, but they aren't generally thought of as such.


Puma concolor is called a lot of different things (cougar, painter, panther, puma, mountain lion, etc.), all names bestowed by people who were not modern scientific taxonomists. Indeed, I still recall books from my childhood that classified nearly all the felids under the genus Felis (e.g. Felis leo, the lion). Lions and their closest relatives were only renamed Panthera after laymen (in some areas) were already used to calling P. concolor “panthers.”




“Black panther” Felis sylvestris catus:


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