Gross observations on the cervical vertebrae of leopard (Panthera pardus)
V R Indu, A R Sreeranjini, C V Rajani and N Ashok
Department of Veterinary Anatomy & Histology, College of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Pookode- 673 576, Wayanad, Kerala, India
A study was conducted on the cervical vertebrae of two leopards. There were seven cervical vertebrae and among them the first two were atypical and differed greatly from all others. The third, fourth and fifth vertebrae had only minor differences. The sixth and seventh vertebrae presented distinct features to make their identification possible. There were some major structural variations observed from that of other small carnivores. In the atlas, transverse foramen was seen on its caudal border. The posterior extremity of spinous process of axis presented a distinct pointed tubercle. The ventral crest was indistinct in the axis to sixth cervical vertebrae. The cranial ventral tubercle of the transverse process of the third to sixth cervical vertebrae were very broad and plate like. These features might be interpreted as adaptations for the thick and strong extensor muscles on the nape of the neck for the predatory behavior seen in leopard.
Cervical vertebrae, leopard, osteology