Study: Weather affects lion manes

Apr 13, 2006

A study of zoo lions across the United States suggests weather conditions are responsible for differences in manes, not just genetics.

The study by Bruce Patterson of The Field Museum in Chicago indicates up to one-half of the length and density of a zoo lion's mane can be attributed to temperature. Other factors include nutrition, social differences, individual history and genetics.

"Many variables interact to affect mane development in wild lions," said Patterson, the museum's curator of mammals and lead author of the research. "Several of these variables, including food, water, and social groupings, are controlled in zoological parks, where the (study found) climate has a major effect on mane development."

A lion's mane primarily serves to attract females and intimidate male competitors, Patterson said. But it comes with a cost: A full mane takes energy to grow and maintain, gives the animal's location away to prey, makes maneuvering through bramble difficult, harbors parasites, and retains heat.

The complete study appears in the April issue of the Journal of Mammalogy.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Top UK scientists warn against EU exit

Related Stories

Polysis is marketing a plastic that turns to clay

6 hours ago

Polysis is showing a plastic that can turn to clay when heated, according to a story on DigInfo TV. Polysis is described as a specialist developer of polyurethane resins and resin products, and they are marketing haplafreely, presented with a lower- ...

Wolfram's ID project launch touts ImageIdentify function

9 hours ago

You see a picture but you cannot name it. "What animal is this?" "Hmm, sort of looks like a guitar, not a cello—what is this instrument?" The Wolfram Language Identification Project was launched on Wednesday ...

Malaysian dam project opposed by tribes gets green light

9 hours ago

Construction of a Malaysian dam that will flood a rainforested area half the size of Singapore and displace 20,000 tribespeople was given the green light Saturday by the state government, local media reported.

Typhoon Dolphin looms over Guam

9 hours ago

Typhoon Dolphin passed through the Northern Marianas today just to the north of Guam with sustained winds estimated at 95 knots (~109 mph) by the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The center passed through ...

Recommended for you

Top UK scientists warn against EU exit

9 minutes ago

A group of leading British scientists including Nobel-winning geneticist Paul Nurse warned leaving the European Union could threaten research funding, in a letter published in The Times newspaper on Friday.

How we discovered the three revolutions of American pop

56 minutes ago

Dr Matthias Mauch discusses his recent scientific analysis of the "fossil record" of the Billboard charts prompted widespread attention, particularly the findings about the three musical "revolutions" that shaped the musical la ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.