Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Gigantic lion, Panthera leo, from the Pleistocene of Natodomeri, eastern Africa

  • Fredrick K. Manthi (a1), Francis H. Brown (a2), Michael J. Plavcan (a3) and Lars Werdelin (a4)
Abstract

The partial skull of a lion from Natodomeri, northwest Kenya is described. The Natodomeri sites are correlated with Member I of the Kibish Formation, dated to between 195 ka and ca. 205 ka. The skull is remarkable for its very great size, equivalent to the largest cave lions (Panthera spelaea [Goldfuss, 1810]) of Pleistocene Eurasia and much larger than any previously known lion from Africa, living or fossil. We hypothesize that this individual represents a previously unknown population or subspecies of lion present in the late Middle and Late Pleistocene of eastern Africa rather than being an indication of climate-driven size increase in lions of that time. This raises questions regarding the extent of our understanding of the pattern and causes of lion evolution in the Late Pleistocene.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Gigantic lion, Panthera leo, from the Pleistocene of Natodomeri, eastern Africa
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Gigantic lion, Panthera leo, from the Pleistocene of Natodomeri, eastern Africa
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Gigantic lion, Panthera leo, from the Pleistocene of Natodomeri, eastern Africa
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author.
Footnotes
Hide All

Francis H. Brown is deceased.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Barnett, R., Yamaguchi, N., Shapiro, B., Ho, S.Y.W., Barnes, I., Sabin, R., Werdelin, L., Cuisin, J., and Larson, G., 2014, Revealing the maternal demographic history of Panthera leo using ancient DNA and a spatially explicit genealogical analysis: BMC Evolutionary Biology, v. 14, no. 70, 11 p. doi: 10.1186/1471-2148-14-70
Bauer, H., Chapron, G., Nowell, K., Henschel, P., Funston, P., Hunter, L.T., Macdonald, D.W., and Packer, C., 2015, Lion (Panthera leo) populations are declining rapidly across Africa, except in intensively managed areas: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, v. 112, p. 1489414899.
Bertola, L.D., Jongbloed, H., van der Gaag, K.J., de Knijff, P., Yamaguchi, N., Hooghiemstra, H., Bauer, H., Henschel, P., White, P.A., Driscoll, C.A., Tende, T., Ottosson, U., Saidu, Y., Vrieling, K., and de Iongh, H.H., 2016, Phylogeographic Patterns in Africa and High Resolution Delineation of Genetic Clades in the Lion (Panthera leo): Scientific Reports, v. 6, Art. No. 30807. doi: 10.1038/srep30807
Bowdich, T.E., 1821, An Analysis of the Natural Classifications of Mammalia for the Use of Students and Travelers: Paris, J. Smith, 115 p.
Brown, F.H., and Fuller, C.R., 2008, Stratigraphy and tephra of the Kibish Formation, southwestern Ethiopia: Journal of Human Evolution, v. 55, p. 366403.
Brown, F.H., McDougall, I., and Fleagle, J.G., 2012, Correlation of the KHS Tuff of the Kibish Formation to volcanic ash layers at other sites, and the age of early Homo sapiens (Omo I and Omo II): Journal of Human Evolution, v. 63, p. 577585.
Butzer, K.W., Isaac, G.L., Richardson, J.L., and Washbourn-Kamau, C., 1972, Radiocarbon dating of East African lake levels: Science, v. 175, p. 10691076.
Clottes, J., 2003, Return to Chauvet Cave. Excavating the Birthplace of Art: The First Full Report: London, Thames & Hudson, 225 p.
De Heinzelin, J., ed., 1983, The Omo Group, archives of the international Omo Research Expedition: Tervuren, Musée Royal de l’Afrique Centrale, Annales, Série in 8°, v. 85, 365 p.
Duvernoy, G.L., 1851, Note sur une espèce fossile de Buffle fossile (Bubalus (Arni) antiquus) découverte en Algérie: Compte rendu hebdomadaire des séances de l’Académie des Sciences de Paris, v. 33, p. 595597.
Faith, J.T., 2014, Late Pleistocene and Holocene mammal extinctions on continental Africa: Earth-Science Reviews, v. 128, p. 105121.
Fischer von Waldheim, G., 1817, Adversaria Zoologica, fasciculus primus: Mémoires de la Société des Naturalistes de Moscou, v. 5, p. 357446.
Geraads, D., 2012, The Faunal Context of Human Evolution in the Late Middle/Late Pleistocene of Northwestern Africa, in Hublin, J.-J., and McPherron, S.P., eds., Modern Origins: A North African Perspective: Dordrecht, Springer, p. 4960.
Goldfuss, G.A., 1810, Die Umgebungen von Muggendorf. Ein Taschenbuch für Freunde der Natur und Alterumskunde: Erlangen, J.J. Palm, 389 p.
Hendey, Q.B., 1974, The late Cenozoic Carnivora of the south-western Cape Province: Annals of the South African Museum, v. 63, p. 1369.
Jicha, B. R., and Brown, F. H., 2014, An age on the Korath Range, Ethiopia and the viability of 40Ar/39Ar dating of kaersutite in Late Pleistocene volcanics: Quaternary Geochronology, v. 21, p. 5357.
Kitchener, A.C., Breitenmoser-Würsten, C., Eizirik, E., Gentry, A., Werdelin, L., Wilting, A., Yamaguchi, N., Abramov, A., Christiansen, P., Driscoll, C., Duckworth, W., Johnson, W., Luo, S.-J., Meijaard, E., O’Donoghue, P., Sanderson, J., Seumour, K., Bruford, M., Groves, C., Hoffmann, M., Nowell, K., Timmons, Z., and Tobe, S., 2017, A revised taxonomy of the Felidae. The final report of the Cat Classification Task Force of the IUCN Cat Specialist Group: Cat News Special Issue, v. 11, p. 180.
Klein, R.G., 1986, Carnivore Size and Quaternary Climatic Change in Southern Africa: Quaternary Research, v. 26, p. 153170.
Klein, R.G., and Scott, K., 1989, Glacial/Interglacial size variation in fossil spotted hyenas (Crocuta crocuta) from Britain: Quaternary Research, v. 32, p. 8895.
Leidy, J., 1853, Description of an extinct species of American lion: Felis atrox: Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, New Series, v. 10, p. 319321.
Linnaeus, C., 1758, Systema Naturae per Regna Tria Naturae: Secundum Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentiis, Synonymis, Locis, 10 ed.: Stockholm, Laurentius Salvius, 824 p.
Mammo, T., 2012, Analysis of gravity field to reconstruct the structure of Omo basin in SW Ethiopia and implications for hydrocarbon potential: Marine and Petroleum Geology, v. 29, p. 104114.
Morgan, L.E., and Renne, P.R., 2008, Diachronous dawn of Africa’s Middle Stone age: new 40Ar/39Ar ages from the Ethiopian Rift: Geology, v. 32, p. 967970.
Oken, L., 1816, Lehrbuch der Naturgeschichte. Dritter Theil. Zoologie: Jena, August Schmid und Comp., 1270 p.
Packer, C., 2015, Lions in the Balance: Man-Eaters, Manes, and Men with Guns: Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 355 p.
Schaller, G.B., 1972, The Serengeti Lion. A Study of Predator-Prey Relations: Chicago, The University of Chicago Press, 504 p.
Van Valkenburgh, B., 1990, Skeletal and dental predictors of body mass in carnivores, in Damuth, J., and MacFadden, B.J., eds., Body Size in Mammalian Paleobiology: Estimation and Biological Implications: Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, p. 181205.
Werdelin, L., and Dehghani, R., 2011, Carnivora, in Harrison, T., ed., Paleontology and Geology of Laetoli: Human Evolution in Context. Volume 2: Fossil Hominins and the Associated Fauna: New York, Springer, p. 189232.
Werdelin, L., and Lewis, M.E., 2005, Plio-Pleistocene Carnivora of eastern Africa: species richness and turnover patterns: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 144, p. 121144.
Werdelin, L., and Lewis, M.E., 2013, Koobi Fora Research Project, Volume 7: The Carnivora: San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences, 333 p.
Werdelin, L., and Peigné, S., 2010, Carnivora, in Werdelin, L., and Sanders, W.J., eds., Cenozoic Mammals of Africa: Berkeley, University of California Press, p. 609663.
Yamaguchi, N., Cooper, A., Werdelin, L., and Macdonald, D.W., 2004, Evolution of the mane and group-living in the lion (Panthera leo): a review: Journal of Zoology, v. 263, p. 329342.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 709
Total number of PDF views: 12300 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 1953 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 9th November 2017 - 19th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.