The Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea)

The Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea)

The Panthera Leo Spelaea are also known as the Panthera Spelaea, Cave lion, European cave lion, and also Eurasian cave lion is an extinct subspecies of lion found from fossils as well as a wide variety of Prehistoric Cave Art. It lived from 300,000 to 10,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene Period.

Like its close cousin, the American lion (Panthera Leo Atrox) as well as the Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) currently has a disputed position amongst other members of the Panthera genus. Member of the Panthera genus, which includes 4 large cats among its extant members, the lion (Panthera leo), the tiger (Panthera tigris), the jaguar (Panthera onca), and also the leopard (Panthera pardus).

The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) is known from Paleolithic cave paintings, ivory carvings, and also clay figurines. This lion is characterized by large size had rounded, protruding ears, tufted tails, possibly faint tiger-like stripes, as well as some had a “ruff” or primitive mane around their necks, possibly indicating males.

The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) populations were widespread in parts of Europe, Asia, and also northwestern North America, from Great Britain, Germany, and also France all the way to the Bering Strait as well as from Siberia to Turkistan. This subspecies was one of the biggest lions. The skeleton of an adult cave lion, which was found in 1985 near Siegsdorf (Germany), had around 1.2 meters high at the shoulder, with the length of 2.1 meters without the tail.

This Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) might have been around 7%-10% bigger compared to modern lions, however, smaller than American lion (Panthera Leo Atrox). The size of this male lion has been exceeded by other specimens of this subspecies. Their body color coat possibly varied from an ochre-tinted gray to dark ochre brown on the upper parts of the body, while the rest of the color was light brown.

The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) was also a voracious predator of the Cave Bear (Ursus Spelaeus) in fact, this cave lion received its vernacular name not because it lived in caves, however, because many intact skeletons have been found in Cave Bear dens, indicates these lions might have sometimes entered dens to prey on hibernating cave bears, with some dying in the attempt.

As is the case with many prehistoric predators, it’s unclear why the Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) disappeared off the face of the earth about 2,000 years ago. It’s possible that it was hunted to becoming extinct by the early human settlers of Eurasia, who would have had a vested interest in banding together as well as eliminating any Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) in the immediate vicinity (these same humans regarded the lions with reverence and also awe, as evidenced by many cave paintings).

 

Diet of The Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea)

Diet of The Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea)

The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) are carnivores, which mean that they feed just on meat. These active carnivores probably preyed upon the big herbivorous animals of their time, such as horses, deer, reindeer, bison and even injured old or young mammoths, which would have been killed by a powerful bite from the sharp teeth.

The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) was not the only large predator across northern Eurasia with the scimitar-toothed cat Homotherium as well as the cave hyena also actively hunting prey. However, both Homotherium and also Cave hyena were hunters of the open plains that seem to have had a preference for targeting large prey like woolly mammoths and also woolly rhinos (such as Coelodonta).

‬The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) however, seems to have hunted in more densely covered areas like forests which were populated by deer and also had increased amounts of cover to enable them to use ambush tactics. Therefore, while all of these predators were active in these continents at the same time, they ran in different environments which would have reduced competition between them.

In addition, some paintings of them in caves show some hunting together, which indicate the hunting strategy of contemporary lions. Isotopic analyses of bone collagen samples extracted from fossils indicate reindeer and also cave bear cubs were prominent in the diets of northwestern Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea). There was a suggestion of a shift in dietary preferences subsequent to the extinction of the cave hyena. The last Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) seem to have focused on reindeer, up to the brink of local extinction or extirpation of both species.

 

The Evolutionary of Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea)

The Evolutionary of Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea)

It was typically considered to be an early subspecies of the lion (Panthera leo), and therefore called Panthera Leo Fossilis, however, a current test indicates that Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) might not have been subspecies of Panthera leo, however, closely related to it. In that case, this lion would be called Panthera Fossilis. Some have placed it within the same species as the later Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea), under the name Panthera Spelaea Fossilis.

In addition, the species of Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) evolved from the earlier Panthera Leo Fossilis, which first appeared in Europe are from Isernia at Italy and are about 700,000 years ago. Genetic evidence indicates this lineage was isolated from existent lions after its dispersal to Europe.

The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) lived from 300,000 to 10,000 years ago, during the Pleistocene Period. Possibly it died out about 12,500 years ago, after the last glaciation, also called the Weichselian glaciation (Weichselian ice age or Vistulian glaciation).

 

The Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) Habitat

The Cave Lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) Habitat

The Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) inhabited almost the whole Europe and also lots of regions in Asia as well as northwestern part of north America. It lived in modern day Great Britain, Germany, Spain, and also after crossing the Bering strait, it reached Yukon as well as regions of Siberia to Turkestan (Central Asia).

It is known that the Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) lived in various habitats, however, they primarily preferred coniferous forests and also grasslands, where medium-sized, as well as large herbivores, fed. A few fossilized bones of Cave lion (Panthera Leo Spelaea) were found beside the fossils of reindeer, which mean that it also lived in subpolar regions.

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