Advertisement

Evolutionary Biology

, Volume 34, Issue 1–2, pp 55–60 | Cite as

On the Nature and Significance of Variability in Lions (Panthera leo)

  • Bruce D. Patterson
General Interest Essay

Abstract

Although the lion is one of nature’s best-known species, much remains to be learned about its variability. Recently documented variation in genetics, morphology, ecology and behavior help to explain its adaptability and illustrate the inter-dependencies of biological responses at different organizational scales.

Keywords

Adaptability Behavior Developmental effects Ecology Environment Geographic variation Africa Asia 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I am grateful to S.M. Kasiki, R.W. Kays, A. Mwazo, and J.M. Dubach for their many contributions to my thinking on lions, as well as hundreds of Earthwatch volunteers for their time and energy in helping me to study them. Edward Hobson and Chryssee Martin recognized and documented the natural experiment presented in Fig. 1, with the help of Festus Kioko, and Bennet Bronson and Karen Wilson produced the image for Fig. 3. Research behind this review has been supported by the Field Museum, the Kenya Wildlife Service, the Earthwatch Institute (#5123) and the National Geographic Society (#7208–02).

References

  1. Badyaev, A. V. (2004). Paradox of an ideal sexual trait: Exaggerated, yet honest. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 6, 975–991Google Scholar
  2. Baldus, R. D. (2006). A man-eating lion (Panthera leo) from Tanzania with a toothache. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 52, 59–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnett, R., Yamaguchi, N., Barnes, I., & Cooper, A. (2006a). Lost populations and preserving genetic diversity in the lion Panthera leo: Implications for its ex situ conservation. Conservation Genetics, 7, 507–514CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnett, R., Yamaguchi, N., Barnes, I., & Cooper, A. (2006b). The origin, current diversity and future conservation of the modern lion (Panthera leo). Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 273, 2119–2125Google Scholar
  5. Bauer, H., de Iongh, H. H. (2005). Lion (Panthera leo) home ranges and livestock conflicts in Waza National Park, Cameroon. African Journal of Ecology, 43, 208–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bauer, H., Merwe, S. V. D. (2004). Inventory of free-ranging lions Panthera leo in Africa. Oryx, 38, 26–31CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bertram, B. C. R. (1978). Pride of lions. New York: ScribnerGoogle Scholar
  8. Burger, J., Rosendahl, W., Loreille, O., Hemmer, H., Eriksson, T., Gotherstrom, A., Hiller, J., Collins, M. J., Wess, T., & Alt, K. W. (2004). Molecular phylogeny of the extinct cave lion Panthera leo spelaea. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 30, 841–849PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cracraft, J., Feinstein, J., Vaughn, J., & Helm-Bychowski, K. (1998). Sorting out tigers (Panthera tigris): Mitochondrial sequences, nuclear inserts, systematics, and conservation genetics. Animal Conservation, 1, 139–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Dubach, J. M., Patterson, B. D., Briggs, M. B., Venzke, K., Flammand, J., Stander, P., Scheepers, L., & Kays, R. W. (2005). Molecular genetic variation across the southern and eastern geographic ranges of the African lion, Panthera leo. Conservation Genetics, 7, 15–24CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Eloff, F. C. (1973). Ecology and behavior of the Kalahari lion. In R. L. Eaton (Ed.), The World’s Cats (pp. 90–126). Winston, Oregon: World Wildlife SafariGoogle Scholar
  12. Ewer, R. F. (1973). The carnivores. Ithaca, New York: Comstock Publishing AssociatesGoogle Scholar
  13. Funston, P. J., & Mills, M. G. L. (2006). The influence of lion predation on the population dynamics of common large ungulates in the Kruger National Park. South African Journal of Wildlife Research, 36, 9–22Google Scholar
  14. Funston, P. J., Mills, M. G. L., Biggs, H. C., & Richardson, P. R. K. (1998). Hunting by male lions: Ecological influences and socioecological implications. Animal Behaviour, 56, 1333–1345PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Funston, P. J., Mills, M. G. L., Richardson, P. R. K., & van Jaarsveld, A. S. (2003). Reduced dispersal and opportunistic territory acquisition in male lions (Panthera leo). Journal of Zoology, London, 259, 131–142Google Scholar
  16. Gnoske, T., & Kerbis Peterhans, J. (2000). Cave lions: The truth behind biblical myths. In the Field, 71, 2–6Google Scholar
  17. Gnoske, T. P., Celesia, G. G., & Peterhans, J. C. K. (2006). Dissociation between mane development and sexual maturity in lions (Panthera leo): Solution to the Tsavo riddle? Journal of Zoology, 270, 551–560CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guggisberg, C. A. W. (1961). Simba, the life of the lion. Capetown, South Africa: Howard TimminsGoogle Scholar
  19. Guggisberg, C. A. W. (1975). Wild cats of the world. New York: Taplinger Publishing CompanyGoogle Scholar
  20. Hemmer, H. (1974). Zur Artgeschichte des Löwen Panthera (Panthera) leo (Linnaeus, 1758). Veroff. Zool. Staatssamml. Munchen, 17, 167–280Google Scholar
  21. Hemmer, H. (1978). The evolutionary systematics of living Felidae: Present status and current problems. Carnivore, 1, 71–79Google Scholar
  22. Hemmer, H. (2003). Pleistozäne Katzen Europas – eine Übersicht. Cranium, 20, 6–20Google Scholar
  23. Hopcraft, J. G. C., Sinclair, A. R. E., & Packer, C. (2005). Planning for success: Serengeti lions seek prey accessibility rather than abundance. Journal of Animal Ecology, 74, 559–566CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hunter, J. A. (1952). Hunter. New York: Harper & Brothers, PublishersGoogle Scholar
  25. Joubert, D. (2006). Hunting behaviour of lions (Panthera leo) on elephants (Loxodonta africana) in the Chobe National Park, Botswana. African Journal of Ecology, 44, 279–281CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Karani, I. W. (1994). An assessment of depredation by lions and other predators in the group ranches adjacent to Masai Mara National reserve. In: Department of Wildlife Management. Eldoret (Kenya): MOI University, 70 ppGoogle Scholar
  27. Kat, P. W., & Harvey, C. (2000). Prides : The lions of Moremi. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution PressGoogle Scholar
  28. Kays, R. W., & Patterson, B. D. (2002). Mane variation in African lions and its social correlates. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 80, 471–478CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kissui, B. M., & Packer, C. (2004). Top-down population regulation of a top predator: Lions in the Ngorongoro Crater. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B, 271, 1867–1874Google Scholar
  30. Kurtén, B., & Anderson, A. (1980). Pleistocene mammals of North America. New York: Columbia University PressGoogle Scholar
  31. Nagel, D., Hilsberg, S., Benesch, A., & Scholtz, J. (2003). Functional morphology and fur patterns in Recent and fossil Panthera species. Scripta Geologica, 126, 227–239Google Scholar
  32. Packer, C., Hilborn, R., Mosser, A., Kissui, B., Borner, M., Hopcraft, G., Wilmshurst, J., Mduma, S., & Sinclair, A. R. E. (2005a). Ecological change, group territoriality, and population dynamics in Serengeti lions. Science, 307, 390–393PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Packer, C., Ikanda, D., Kissui, B., & Kushnir, H. (2005b). Lion attacks on humans in Tanzania. Nature, 436, 927–928PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Patterson, B. D. (2004a). The lions of Tsavo: Exploring the legacy of Africa’s notorious man-eaters. New York: McGraw-HillGoogle Scholar
  35. Patterson, B. D. (2004b). Maneless and misunderstood. Earthwatch Institute, 23(2), 12–15Google Scholar
  36. Patterson, B. D., Kasiki, S. M., Selempo, E., & Kays, R. W. (2004). Livestock predation by lions (Panthera leo) and other carnivores on ranches neighboring Tsavo National Parks, Kenya. Biological Conservation, 119, 507–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Patterson, B. D., Kays, R. W., Kasiki, S. M., & Sebestyen, V. M. (2006). Developmental effects of climate on the lion’s mane (Panthera leo) Journal of Mammology, 87, 193–200 + coverCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pienaar, A. A. (1969). Predator-prey relationships amongst the larger mammals of the Kruger National Park. Koedoe, 12, 108–187Google Scholar
  39. Pusey, A. E., & Packer, C. (1983). Once and future kings. Natural History 82(8), 54–62Google Scholar
  40. Pusey, A. E., & Packer, C. (1987). The evolution of sex-biased dispersal in lions. Behaviour, 101, 275–310Google Scholar
  41. Schaller, G. B. (1972). The Serengeti lion; a study of predator-prey relations. Chicago: University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  42. Scheel, D. (1993). Profitability, encounter rates, and prey choice of African lions. Behavioral ecology, 4, 90CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Scheel, D., & Packer, C. (1995). Variation in predation by lions: Tracking a moveable feast. In A. R. E. Sinclair & P. Arcese (Eds.) Serengeti: Dynamics of an ecosystem (pp. 299–314). Chicago: University of Chicago PressGoogle Scholar
  44. Smith, Y., & Kok, O. B. (2006). Alloparental care and auntie behaviour in a male Kalahari lion (Panthera leo Linnaeus, 1758). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 9, 2541–2542CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Sommer, R. S., & Benecke, N. (2006). Late Pleistocene and Holocene development of the felid fauna (Felidae) of Europe: A review. Journal of Zoology, 269, 7–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Spong, G., Stone, J., Creel, S., & Björklund, M. (2002). Genetic structure of lions (Panthera leo L.) in the Selous Game Reserve: Implications for the evolution of sociality. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 15, 945–953CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Stander, P. E. (1991). Demography of lions in the Etosha National Park. Madoqua, 18, 1–9Google Scholar
  48. Stander, P. E., & Albon, S. D. (1993). Hunting success of lions in a semi-arid environment. In N. Dunstone & M. L. Gorman (Eds.), Mammals as predators (pp. 127–143). London: Zoological Society of LondonGoogle Scholar
  49. Swayne, H. C. G. (1895). Seventeen trips through Somaliland. A record of exploration & big game shooting, 1885 to 1893. London: Rowland Ward and CoGoogle Scholar
  50. Turner, A. (1985). Extinction, speciation and dispersal in African larger carnivores, from the late Miocene to Recent. South African Journal of Science, 81, 256–257Google Scholar
  51. Turner, A., & Antón, M. (1997). The big cats and their fossil relatives : An illustrated guide to their evolution and natural history. New York: Columbia University PressGoogle Scholar
  52. Uphyrkina, O., Johnson, W. E., Quigley, H., Miquelle, D., Marker, L., Bush M, & O’Brien, S. J. (2001). Phylogenetics, genome diversity and origin of modern leopard, Panthera pardus. Molecular ecology, 10, 2617–2633PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. von Buol, P. (2000). ‘Buffalo lions’: A feline missing link? Swara, 23, 20–25Google Scholar
  54. West, P. M., Maccormick, H., Hopcraft, G., Whitman, K., Ericson, M., Hordinsky, M., & Packer, C. (2006). Wounding, mortality and mane morphology in African lions, Panthera leo. Animal Behavior, 71, 609–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. West, P. M., Packer, C. (2002). Sexual selection, temperature, and the lion’s mane. Science, 297, 1339–1343PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Yamaguchi, N., Cooper, A., Werdelin, L., & Macdonald, D. W. (2004). Evolution of the mane and group-living in the lion (Panthera leo): A review. Journal of Zoology, 263, 329–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyField Museum of Natural HistoryChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations