Tuesday, June 12, 2007

(211) The question of the liger or the Siberian tiger

On July 14th 2004, James Sorrie chipped in at the same thread at quizzing.co.uk as features in Entry 210 with this question:

What are the odds of the two finalists, Pat and Astrid, in last night's show choosing the same combination ( 5681 ) as they did?

He was referring to the qualification procedure on The Vault

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Vault_(game_show)

where nine players each choose a 4 figure number, and those closest to the (unknown) one chosen by the host computer, qualified.
His question sparked off a mathematical debate, but they eventually settled on the figure of 1 / 278.199363120753

Next day " dicko " added this -
... ... ...
In response to the question about the telephone contestant, there were 4 questions that an ant could have answered, then the fifth was "what is the largest tiger ?". It took my search engine 5 seconds to come up with Siberian. Plenty of people would have known this, I suspect, so whether they wanted the prize to be won depends on what the 6th question was.
15 Jul 2004 18:03

And the thread continued -

Posted by snoopy the vault 13/7/04
the 1st million pound jackpot show. someone above asked what the questions were that the home caller got these were: 1) ... ... ... 2) ... ... ... 3) ... ... ... 4) ... ... ... 5)WHAT IS THE LARGEST MEMBER OF THE TIGER FAMILY? ( all turned sour now stumped and knew it was too good to be true that 2 plus 2 style questions would not totally prevail and that the money just would not be given away .
Would have been nice to get to see the sixth question.
Might I add though in previous weeks some callers have failed to get past the two questions answered correctly in the studio so we really cant assess to what extent they may have wanted to spiral the jackpot to a million pounds, as the batch of questions was never revealed. ...
15 Jul 2004 19:48

Posted by wiseoldowls

Thanks Snoopy ... ... and I have to say those would be five nice questions for any pub quiz regular to have pitched at them. Questions 1 to 4 are 'bog standard' and even question 5 is not sooooooooo difficult...
15 Jul 2004 21:23 Site Admin

Next day I joined in with -

Posted by PLASKETT -- quote: --5)WHAT IS THE LARGEST MEMBER OF THE TIGER FAMILY?
Snoopy quotes this question, above, as the fifth asked down the phone. The answer I would give would be the Liger .
Anybody disagree?
16 Jul 2004 21:07

Posted by wiseoldowls I'd beg to differ
... ... ... ... ... a cross between a lion and a tiger doesn't rank as a member of the 'Tiger Family'.
17 Jul 2004 16:37

Posted by PLASKETT Kent Play Cricket on Fridays; Girls Spectate.
Why not? Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species. That´s the sequence... and they are all manmade constructs!
In Darwin´s day there was no precise definition of what constituted a species. Even these days the exact criteria for speciation are not agreed upon, but today the usual definition, and by far the most widely accepted, is the Strong Biological One; i.e. that if organisms may mate and produce fertile offspring then they are of the same species.
But even this has produced problems. It is a test which can not be applied to organisms which self-pollinate or self-fertilise. That is a substantial proportion of the natural world.
Then, a cross between a horse and a donkey is called a mule. Is a mule a horse or a donkey?
Or is it some sort of halfway house between the two? Mules are usually infertile... but not always. There have been 53 documented instances of a mule giving birth. Indeed, I am not sure, but I think it is the Italians who have an aphorism "A mule gave birth", the equivalent of our "Once in a blue moon."
Then the criterion has led to some inexplicable anomalies, e.g. there are breeding populations (such as the fruit fly Drosophila) that are described as separate species and that do not ( or cannot) interbreed, but which are genetically identical.
On the Galapagos there are 13 supposed different species of Finch. But they are not separate species, for they all may, and frequently do, interbreed and produce fertile offspring.
So no speciation event may be inferred from the variation in beaks, wingspan, etcetera on those islands. In fact no speciation event has EVER been recorded by any biologist.
He ought to have titled the book The Origin of small variations within species .
Your lion and your tiger are the same darn thing. Not different familes.
And Liger would have been my answer, and I would have been happy to take on their lawyers afterwards!

I see no evidence to support the theory of Darwinism, Wiseoldowls.
Neither do I see any evidence that Tecwen Whittock helped Charles Ingram to win One Million Pounds.
Not everybody agrees with me.

17 Jul 2004 18:16

Posted by wiseoldowls
Ah, but ... ... the question on the show was "Which is the largest member of the Tiger family?".
Can a zoo-bred hybrid be classed as a true member of a species/family? Anyway, even had you answered "liger" and gone to law, would you have accepted the verdict if it had gone against you?
Next question, "Which is the largest member of the terrier family?"
P.S. I was aware of the Latin phrase "Cum mula peperit" ('When a mule foals'), indeed it formed the basis for one of the questions I wrote for the January 2004 'Celtic Challenge', inspired by this piece on the BBC News website.
17 Jul 2004 23:37 Site Admin

Posted by MarcLodge
Hmm.... There appears to be some very high brow intellectual discussion going on here, which to my lesser mind, seems stupid and childish. Doctor Spock (Star Trek not US doctor) is neither Human nor Vulcan being a cross between the two.
A Tigon or a Liger is a member of neither the Tiger family nor the Lion, having paws in both.
The correct answer (unless somebody knows different) is a Siberian Tiger. Anybody who says different is either spoiling for an argument or just being childish.
Or have I missed something.......?
17 Jul 2004 23:56

Posted by PLASKETT " Rubber ears...? Human nose...? That is illogical, Cap
Mr Spock is a fictional character. So is a Gryffon. Ligers are real. Wiseoldowls says quote: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ... the question...was "Which is the largest member of the Tiger family?". Can a zoo-bred hybrid be classed as a true member of a species/family? --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes. A zoo-bred hybrid is a true member of the species/family. Cross a Great Dane with a Dachshund (you may have some difficulties) and see if what results is a member of the dog family.
Had the verdict gone against me, I would have set a rabid Liger on them!
Or a tigon...or a Leopon... or a chihuahua...
Wiseoldowls points out that it was a Latin aphorism originally (" A mule gave birth") and not, as I stated, an Italian.
This raises the cogent questions: -

a) Was I right?
b) Is Modern Italian only a distant descendant of the Pater Familias language of Latin ?
c) Does anyone give a Monkey´s?
d) Or a Baboon´s?
e) Or a Lemur´s?
f ) Or a...?

18 Jul 2004 10:35

Posted by MarcLodge
Originally posted by PLASKETT Cross a Great Dane with a Dachshund (you may have some difficulties) and see if what results is a member of the dog family. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If such a implausible coupling were to occur, the resultant offspring would indeed be a dog, but would be neither a Great Dane nor a Dachshund. Similarly, cross a lion with a tiger, and the resultant offspring is indeed a Big Cat, but it ain't A Lion or a Tiger.
IMHO
18 Jul 2004 23:41

Posted by PLASKETT Sacha´s answer
... ... ... But, my seven year old son, who saw a liger in an Alicante sanctuary last month, says that it is both a Lion AND a Tiger. I think he´s righter.
19 Jul 2004 17:23

Posted by mikebuk
A lion and tiger would only mate in captivity as thay obviously live in different continents. Depending on the mix of male and female, you would have a liger or a tigon. ...
20 Jul 2004 01:15

Posted by PLASKETT
But is it a Tiger?
Alright Mike; we agree. But is "Liger" the right answer, in your opinion, to the question " Which is the largest member of the Tiger family?"

Posted by mikebuk
Well it wouldn't have been my guess at the time I was thinking either Bengal or Siberian. This web page I saw tells you that Siberian is correct, as do many other pages, so I suppose there's no reason to doubt it.
http://www.tigerdude.com/tigers.html
20 Jul 2004 02:01 Joined: 17 Mar 2003 Posts: 409

It was only some time after that I realised how apposite it was that I should engage in a squabble with people, most of whom had stated that they thought that the Millionaire Three were guilty, over a question leading on to a million pound top prize on TV game show, where they all insisted that the right answer was ´Siberian tiger´ whilst I argued that it ought to be´ liger´.

Apposite, of course, because of the content of Entry 187. http://james-plasketts-coincidence-diary.blogspot.com/2006/03/186-nap-mcsheehy.html
Then, on October 17th 2005, Rob Fulton won the top prize on the Australian version of WWTBAM?

The $Australian 1,000,000 Question was -

"Which of these TV shows aired first a) I Dream of Jeannie b) Get Smart c) Hogan´s Heroes d) Bewitched. "
I was informed of his result and the last question the next day via internet by Aussie, Geoff Malpas (see Entry 220).
I told him that I thought that ´Bewitched´ was the answer, and he said that it was.
I then discovered that his thirteenth question was -

In the wild, which tiger is the biggest of the big cats? A: Sumatran, B: Siberian, C: Bengal, D: Bali

This very same question, once again in the context of a million pound TV Quiz win. But note the specificity "...In the wild,..."
No ligers in the wild.

Some years earlier, Mr Fulton had been told by a fortune teller that he would win a large amount of money. He had $8 Australian in his bank account when he won on the show. He went for it on the final question, although not certain.
The final answer, which wins him the million, was ´Bewitched´.

See also Entry 231.

Note also Entry 166, where a "tiger" became assimilated into another family, despite sharing only 50% of her genetic material with them.

The Three being completed by the addition of the distinctive Fourth.

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