Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Prehistoric lions of Eurasia and North America for World Lion Day 2022

Happy World Lion Day! Do any of my readers know that lions used to roam across nearly all of Eurasia and North America during the Ice Ages? They did, so I'm putting my own paleontological spin on the day by featuring two videos about two extinct lions from the Pleistocene, beginning with The Curious Case of the Cave Lion from PBS Eons.

A mysterious, large feline roamed Eurasia during the last ice age. Its fossils have been found across the continent, and it’s been the subject of ancient artwork. So what exactly were these big cats?
Watching this video reminds me of a conversation Infidel753 and I had about World Lion Day three years ago.
"Genetics has reached the point where it tells us a lot more than fossils can." Do remember you're talking to a paleontologist. :-) That written, they can, as fossils usually only preserve the hard parts of an organism.
The frozen mummies of cave lion cubs are ideal in preserving both soft parts and DNA and the latter proved able to solve a question that the bones alone couldn't, were modern lions and cave lions the same species or not. They turned out to be separate species.

PBS Eons mentioned the relationship between cave lions and American lions. SciShow examined the latter in The Mysterious *Gigantic* Lions That Used to Roam North America about the cave lion's sister species last year.

North America used to be home to a cat so large, it may have taken down some of the biggest prey of the last Ice Age.
I agree with Hank; one of the points of paleontology is to learn from the past and apply the knowledge gained to the present. In this case, it could help prevent the extinction of modern lions and other big cats.

Stay tuned for National Presidential Joke Day.

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