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Lions Podcast: Extras
Listen as Bruce Patterson tells the story of a darted lion that woke up unexpectedly—while Patterson was on his back.
Images from the Biodiversity Heritage Library and from Bruce Patterson's collection at the Field Museum (Field Museum images courtesy of Logan Jaffe).
You can follow the Biodiversity Heritage Library through their blog or the BHL Twitter feed, @BioDivLibrary.
The Romans used the Barbary or Atlas lion (Panthera leo leo) in fights with gladiators in the Colliseum. Extinct now in the wild, was the Barbary lion really a subspecies of Pathera leo, as scientists long believed, or was its particularly spectacular mane the product of its climate? Read about the Barbary Lion Project, an attempt to resurrect the subspecies using DNA from museum specimens.
Gentlemen may prefer blondes, but among lions, anyway, the blondes prefer brunets. Manes vary in color from black to blond. Studies have shown that lionesses prefer males with darker manes and that males with darker manes have higher levels of testosterone than other males.
Lion cubs are born with light fur patterned with brown rosettes, like those on a jaguar. The spots usually disappear as the cub matures, although some individuals do keep faint spots.
Craig Packer of the University of Minnesota has conducted field research into just what those male lions are using their manes for. Packer theorized that manes were either padding that served to protect the neck during fights with other lions, or ornament to advertise quality to potential mates. Packer and his colleagues purchased lifesize toy lions and fitted them with wigs with various “hair cuts,” then took them out into the field. What did he find? You can see images and video from the experiments here.