Relaxed phylogenetics and dating with confidence plos biology
Lions have been kept in menageries since the time of the Roman Empire, and have been a key species sought for exhibition in zoos over the world since the late 18th century.Zoos are cooperating worldwide in breeding programs for the endangered Asiatic lions.The liger is a cross between a male lion and a tigress.Because the growth-inhibiting gene from the female tiger mother is absent, the growth-promoting gene passed on by the male lion father is unimpeded by a regulating gene and the resulting ligers grow far larger than either parent.The Asiatic lion persica was the most distinctive, and the Cape lion had characteristics allying it more with P. Mitochondrial variation in living African lions seemed to be modest according to some newer studies; therefore, all sub-Saharan lions have sometimes been considered a single subspecies.However, a recent study revealed that lions from western and central Africa differ genetically from lions of southern or eastern Africa.
Lions in eastern Kenya are genetically much closer to lions in South Africa than to lions in the Aberdare Range in western Kenya or in Uganda.In a different study, tissue and bone samples of 32 lion specimens in museums were used.Results indicated that lions form phylogeographic groups, one each in North Africa / Asia, West Africa, eastern Sahel, south-eastern Africa and south-western Africa.Cultural depictions of lions are known from the Upper Paleolithic period, with carvings and paintings from the Lascaux and Chauvet Caves in France dated to 17,000 years ago, through virtually all ancient and medieval cultures where they once occurred.
It has been extensively depicted in sculptures and paintings, on national flags, and in contemporary films and literature.Females cooperate when hunting and prey mostly on large ungulates. In the Pleistocene, the lion was the most widespread large land mammal and ranged from Southern Africa to Northern Europe, across all of Asia and North America to Peru.