Objective: Asiatic big cat skulls often appear in illegal trade. These species are protected under national and international law so an effective
prosecution requires reliable species level identification. Morphometric based identification has reasonable advantages over DNA-based
Methods: In the current study, a range of morphological features and 29 metric variables from 25 skulls of tiger, Asiatic lion, common leopard, snow
leopard and clouded leopard were investigated.
Results: Among studied parameters, overall skull profile, skull index, nasal profile, sagittal crest and forehead features, ratio of maxilla and nasal
suture were found to be the key factor for species differentiation. Based on findings, a simple flowchart was developed. Depending on the nature
of confiscated material, suggested identification landmarks can be used as preliminary or confirmatory tool by wildlife forensic community as well
as concerned field-based authorities.
Conclusion: It can be concluded that cranio-morphometric features are quite effective for discriminating Asiatic big cat skulls.