In October 1992 the skin of a melanistic tiger was taken from a hunter and smuggler at Tis Hazari, South Delhi. The eight and a half foot pelt had black on the top of the head and back, while the sides were striped over a black ground colour. This skin was placed on show at the National Museum of Natural History, New Delhi, in February 1993. Though the source remains unknown it provided the first physical proof of melanistic tigers. They could no longer be denied. Tiger Territory has been unable to obtain a photograph of this pelt. They are smaller in size than their orange cousins and have even been termed "diminutive"; this also makes them more agile. Though the ground colour may appear to be black, it is not. The reason for the black appearance is the dark stripes are extraordinarily wide, covering much of the usual orange base colouration. This effect is more correctly termed pseudo-melanism and it is caused when the normal markings are so large that they merge to cover larger areas.
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