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Protect Thy Neck
πŸ“Έ by @charlysavely

The mane of the male lion is one of the most iconic and instantly recognizable features of the species. Its functional purpose is to protect the neck and throat when fighting with other males.

However, not every male lion is equipped with a mane so regal; Asiatic lions have sparse manes. Almost all west african lions are either maneless or have very short manes.

And on rare occasions, female lions have grown manes and adopted the mannerisms and behaviors of their male counterparts. Testosterone directly determines whether or not a lion (or lioness) will sprout one, and these females all tested “high” in that department.

Due to their high levels of testosterone, these maned females are all sterile, meaning they cannot have cubs of their own.

Five of these females were discovered in the Okavango region, suggesting an underlying genetic predisposition present in the lion population there.



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