The snow leopard was first described by the German naturalist Johann Christian Daniel von Schreber on the basis of an illustration in his 1777 publication Die Säugethiere in Abbildungen nach der Natur mit Beschreibungen. Schreber named the cat Felis uncia and gave its type locality as Barbary, Persia, East India, and China. In 1854, the British zoologist John Edward Gray proposed the genus Uncia, to which he subordinated the snow leopard under the name Uncia irbis. British zoologist Reginald Innes Pocock corroborated this classification, but attributed the scientific name Uncia uncia. He also described morphological differences between snow leopards and the then-accepted Panthera species.
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