Emancipation in the world of animals: lions grow a mane
When female lions "pririsovyvali" mane, in many stories. Recall at least Lermontovsky lioness "a shaggy mane on the ridge" or grandmother cartoon lion Boniface, has a thick black sideburns. However, all this can be attributed to any funny bloopers or the author's attempt to give the product a special meaning. But here's what's happening now in the nature, it is already alarming. In the forests of Botswana five lioness mane grow and behave like a man. And this is not the only place on the planet where there is such an incredible phenomenon.
Alas, lioness mane can be found not only in cartoons and children's books. / Photo: A scene from the animated film about Boniface.
Located in southern Africa nation of Botswana is famous for its beautiful pristine nature and an abundance of national parks and reserves. Here there are endless Kalahari Desert and savanna and gallery tropical forests. A wildlife researchers, these places attract those that can be in Botswana for a long time to observe the natural life of large predators - leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, lions ...
But it turned out even more interesting than expected naturalists. A group of researchers who studied the lions of Botswana, was faced with a very strange phenomenon, which introduced them in bewilderment. Scientists have discovered that five lionesses in the Moremi Reserve have manes and demonstrate a purely male behavior. For example, they try to physically dominate the other females, mark territory, as do lions, males, and purely masculine growl. With regard to the latter fact, the general in the female nature, lions, of course, may issue a roar, but only when there are objective reasons. Males roar on a regular basis, their guttural growl and expressive - this is what demonstrates the brutal lion with a mane. Moreover, one of the females was seen in the murder of two young from another pride, and it is generally unheard of event for the Lions of the world!
Jeffrey D. Gilfillan, lead researcher Moremi Reserve expedition, said about one of the lionesses of the following: "Physiologically, it is a female, but prefers to mate, the male. Other "bearded" females are still trying to do it less often, but they are also roar and smell like males.
The researchers also noted that all five lionesses are infertile because they have been seen mating with lions, but the pregnancy then they did not come.
According to the experts, this is a strange phenomenon in the area was recorded nine years ago, when there was a lion with a mane in the reserve. Now, as we can see, the number of "masculine" females increased.
Researchers have estimated an explanation for this strange phenomenon - the masculine traits of a lioness, they are associated with elevated levels of the male hormone testosterone. This hypothesis emerged after the analysis was taken from one of the South African lioness zoo, 13-year-old Emma, who has just grown a mane. Testing has shown that high levels of this hormone in females was caused by problems with the ovaries, although in general the reproductive organs to work normally and female chromosomes (XX) and was all right. Once the ovaries have been removed, testosterone index in the animal returned to normal, and the mane is gone.
Whether or not to sound the alarm in connection with the "emancipation" in the world of predators? Maybe it's just the beginning, and this phenomenon is threatening lions in the general population? Scientists soothe: yet no reason for feelings. All the lioness in question live in the same area - the Okavango Delta, and therefore, it is purely a local anomaly.
However, it is alarming that the same "emancipated" predator began to appear in other parts of the world. For example, in the Philadelphia Zoo female with a mane was noticed too. Experts pointed out that in her case, hormonal imbalance linked to a very old age.
Yet another similar case was observed in the zoo Oklahoma. 19-year-old lioness Bridget in his long life had never shown any masculine traits in behavior and even gave birth to offspring, but in the age of 17 she also started to grow a small mane (more like a beard).
Bridget of America (left) and Emma from South Africa (right) - the lion with a mane. / Photo: Oklahoma City Zoo and Botanical Garden, nzg.ac.za
There are other similar cases in zoos around the world, and I must say, is not always the presence of the mane of a lioness was associated with elevated levels of testosterone.
Meanwhile, in Africa in recent years one can observe the opposite phenomenon - the Lions who have completely missing mane. These individuals are seen in Senegal, as well as in the Kenyan Tsavo National Park.