Jaguar is the common name of Panthera onca, a big cat of Central and South America. It is arguably the most impressive carnivorous mammal of the western hemisphere (not counting extinct forms), being larger and stockier even than the Old World leopard, with a shorter tail and larger head. Its coat bears a similar spotted marking to that of the leopard but with larger rosettes with spots, and a melanistic or black phase, sometimes commonly called a panther, is also known to exist.
The jaguar figured heavily in the religions of Central American peoples such as the Maya, where it was associated with the god of war.
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