Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Female Lions Get Hairy in Botswana

A few female in lions in northern Botswana have a unique genetic disposition.  They grow manes just like a male lion.  Male lions are not homosexual as a rule, but when two maned lions are seen mating in the bush it turns not just the tourists' heads.  These two maned lions photographed in Botswana by Nicole Cambré while on safari are most probably a male and his light-maned female mate.  Panthera, the big cat conservation organization, says the probable explanation for the oddity is that a female fetus is exposed to increased levels of male androgen, such as testosterone, during development.  Other species have evolved masculine females--hyenas are the prime example--as an evolutionary response to increased stress of survival in a world overrun by man and his works.