|Blue Spring Cave is located in central Tennessee. The current surveyed length is over 34 miles. These tracks are thought to have been made by an extinct jaguar species that is closely related to modern jaguars but much larger. These tracks are over a mile from the known entrance but are close to a surface sinkhole that is filled with debris. There is very little information about this species on the Internet. |
In Tennessee, actual remains (bones) have been recovered from at least six caves. One of the best skulls recovered is from Little Airplane Cave in Hamiliton County, Tennessee. It is displayed in the McClung Museum in Knoxville: mcclungmuseum.utk.edu/permanent/geology/index.shtml
The species is also known as Panthera onca augusta. I found this image on Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/24855184@N05/2632357819/
The species seems to have been a cave dweller. There are only three known caves in Tennessee where tracks are present. In Wolf River Cave, the prints were in association with skeletal remains. Since there are no skeletal remains in association with these prints it is not certain they were made by a jaguar but I can't seem to find any information on mountain lion remains or tracks being found deep inside Tennessee Caves.
As to how old these are, no one knows for sure but this section of cave has not seen any water in a very long time. It is many feet above the current water level in the cave. These tracks could easily have been made in the Pleistocene: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pleistocene
The tracks were discovered in the early 1990's and a pathway delineated through them so they have remained in good shape.
Most of the information about the jaguar is found in the book, "Vertebrate Fossils of Tennessee, Bulletin 77, 1976. www.amazon.com/Vertebrate-fossils-Tennessee-Bulletin-Divi...
|title||blue spring cave, panthera augusta tracks, white county, tennessee 1|
|date yyyymmdd hr:mn||2008:09:27 10:07:10|
width=640 x height=427 pixels; size=426928 bytes
Updated: 2018-10-18 14:48:01 gmt