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  The size of the Barbary lion
Posted by: Kingtheropod - 04-05-2014, 11:23 PM - Forum: Lion - Replies (60)
This topic was made by Guate at animalbattles board sometime ago. This is direct copy excluding the unimportant parts.

0 - Was the Barbary lion, the famous population in the north of Africa, a truly giant? Are those claims true? The next topic show that the Barbary lion was of the same size than they brothers of India and West Africa. None reliable weight has been reported from this population, but the few sizes and skull dimensions show that they are not exceptional in any particular characteristic.

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

1. Charles Guggisberg

It has been long debated which was the size of the Barbary lion. At this moment, the best source is the book “Simba, the life of the lion” of Charles Guggisberg (1961), check the image:

*This image is copyright of its original author

As we can see, the sizes reported are no larger than modern lions from East Africa, or a better comparison, of the same size than those from West Africa and India.

Some weeks ago, I buy the book “Wild Cats of the World”, also of Guggisberg (1975) and he put the same data about the Barbary lion that he puts in his previous book. Check the image:

*This image is copyright of its original author

So, I search the original source of the data which is this book:

* Brehm, A. E. 1925. Tierleben. Vol. 4. Leipzig.

After a few searches, I found it in the web here:

The reference is different (year 1915, Vol. 12), but the data is exactly the same.

Now, check the measurements that Brehm states:

*This image is copyright of its original author

Brehm was probably one of the best Zoologists from Germany and the entire world. His data most be taken as mandatory and his statements are highly reliable, although now somewhat outdated.

Brehm states that the adult Barbary lions have a shoulder height of 80-100 cm, a head-body length of 160-190 cm and a tail length of 75-90 cm, which produce a total length of 235-280 cm. This size is similar to all the other lion populations and don’t present any exceptional dimension.

2. Nobuyuki Yamaguchi

Yamaguchi & Haddane (2002) made a good investigation about this lion, check it:

“How big was a Barbary lion? The famous French zoologist Cuvier measured a six-year-old captive-reared male Barbary lion, which had head and body length of 5 pieds 2 pouces (= c. 1.58 m), tail length c. 66.1 cm, height of forequarters c. 83.6 cm and of hindquarters c. 83.6 cm (Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier, 1824). This lion was caught in eastern Algeria in 1795 at about one year old and died at ten years old in the Jardin des Plantes, Paris. Although the live lion may not have given Cuvier accurate measurements, the animal seems to have been very small for a male lion. It is, however, doubtful whether captive Barbary lions, usually captured as cubs and kept in menageries during the 18th or 19th centuries, attained the full body size. Cuvier himself referred to undesirable captive conditions at the menagerie (Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire and Cuvier, 1824). Cornish (1899) reported that big cats only lived, on an average, for two years in London Zoo in the mid-1800s. Gérard (1856) also expressed his concern about the captive condition of lions at the Jardin des Plantes. On the other hand, he described a big wild Barbary lion he shot with the comment `This lion, compared to the finest of those which are exhibited in our menageries, or at the Jardin des Plantes, was what a horse is to a donkey. . .' There is, however, no credible record of body measurements of wild Barbary lions. Gérard (1856) described the size of wild male Barbary lions as c. 2.3 m from the tip of the nose to the root of the tail, which measured c. 90 cm, and their weight as c. 270–300 kg. If this had been true, Barbary lions would indeed have been big amongst lions. However, the methods of obtaining these measurements (e.g. straight or along the curve) were not specified, and the accuracy of the measurements themselves may be questionable, as Gérard made them in the field. Although Pease (1899, 1915) suggested that North African lions might have become very heavy because they fed on mutton so much, regarding the body length he seems not to have believed what he himself quoted – an Algerian lion whose head and body length was c. 2.5 m and the tail length 75 cm.”

“The largest Barbary lion skull so far measured, which is partly broken, has an estimated greatest length of c. 360 mm (Mazák, 1970; Yamaguchi, unpublished). Although 360 mm is not small, big skulls of sub-Saharan lions easily reach a maximum length of over 380 mm, and some even over 400 mm (Hemmer, 1974; Best, 1981; Yamaguchi, unpublished). Does this mean Barbary lions were not particularly big? Due to such a small sample size, we have to wait until more specimens may become available. The big lion Gérard shot in Algeria was presented to the Duchess of Orléans (Gérard, 1856), but the current whereabouts of this specimen and other wild-shot Barbary lions which decorated Gérard's Paris residence are not known.”


Conclusion of Yamaguchi: there are no reliable sizes of wild Barbary lions, nor any weights. Yamaguchi, the “god” of hard-core-lion-fans presents a good case where he states that there is no evidence or at least enough specimens to say that this lion was larger than any other population. In fact, if we follow the new genetic evidence and with the presented sizes, we can conclude that this lion was of the same size and weight than modern Indian and West African lions, which incredible, reach the same sizes despite the large geographical distance.

3. Skull size

About the skulls, Yamaguchi & Haddane (2002), quoting Mazák, states that the largest skull from this population was of c.360 mm, which is smaller than the maximum of other lion populations (South Africa, up to 419 mm according with Hemmer (1974)). However, a new investigation of J. H. Mazák (2010) provides new figures, check the image:

*This image is copyright of its original author

This table presents the following average for the population in the north of Africa:

Greatest skull length:

* North Africa:

Males – 372.3 mm (n=3)

Females – 318.3 mm (n=2)

The second sample from North East Africa (specifically Ethiopia, including those from Addis Ababa) is dubious on its classification, because some authors believe that they are from descendents of the Barbary lion, but the last genetic study show that they are closer to the East African lions (Dubach et al., 2013), so its inclusion here will be incorrect.

Although small (n=3), the sample of Barbary lions show specimens that are clearly larger than the record stated by Yamaguchi, with a probable maximum between 410-420 mm. Even then, there are several records of lions with large skulls and small bodies, so this large skull size only suggest that Barbary lions were as large as other populations, but that they were no exceptional in any case.

Here are some images of a Barbary lion skull found in the tower of London:

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

Sadly, there are not measurements available, but they seem to be very small.

The average for the Indian lions is of 338.9 mm (n=6) according with Mazák (2010) and of 344.0 mm using 4 specimens from Pocock (1939) and Prater (1921). The largest Indian lion skull available measured 365.8 mm (Prater, 1921). Mazák (2010) presents only one skull of 330 mm from Iran and one of 347.8 mm from West Africa. Obviously these samples are pretty small, but even then, it seems that the Barbary lions had larger skulls than those from Asia and West Africa. Could this mean that the largest specimens of the Barbary lions were larger than those from these regions? Probably they did, but we don’t know by how much. A study of the relation between skull length and body length of lions could help us with this problem.

4. Conclusion

Using the little reliable information available, the Barbary lion (female and male) had a head-body length of 160-190 cm, a shoulder height of 80-100 cm and a greatest skull length with an average of 372.3 mm in males and 318.3 mm in females. These sizes are about the same than those of Indian and West Africa, with the exception of the relative larger skulls.

With the weight issue, judging by its body size and skull dimensions, Barbary lions probably weighed up to 200 kg (and much less in average, probably between 160-170 kg) although there is the possibility of some exceptional specimens of probably up to 230 kg like the East African lions, or even 250 kg like the Southern African lions, but this last figure will be probably just an exaggeration in the northern areas of Africa. There is only a single report of Gérard of males up to 270-300 kg, but these are simple estimations and are completely unreliable.

The idea of its large size came from the large mane, but there are several captive Indian lions with heavy manes that weight less than 160 kg. There are several large lions with heavy manes in private facilities available in the web and the hard-core-lion-fans proclaim without any evidence that they are “Barbary”, but the truth is that none of them is pure Barbary or from any other population. Besides, any captive lion in cold climate can develop a large mane, so the mane is the worst factor to detect a Barbary lion.

Barnett et al. (2009) confirms that Barbary lions and those from India are the about the same, genetically speaking.

Here is the image of the evolutionary tree of the three different taxas of “lions”, plus a little ad:

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

Interesting, the DNA analysis showed that Barbary and Indian lions are about the same, even more closely related than some Cave lion population between them (intra-specifically).

This supports even more, the theory of Thapar et al. (2013), that lions from India were originated from Africa, and that the particular population of Gir probably came from the lions exported by the Mughals and Alexander the great, which take them from North Africa and Persia.
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  How to upload image
Posted by: sanjay - 04-04-2014, 10:07 AM - Forum: Tips, Guides, Tutorial & Technical Problem - Replies (6)
Note: This tutorial is updated on 23-Oct-2015 for new text editor.

Note: If you are looking to Insert image directly from other website like facebook, photobucket, google etc then this tutorial is not for you, please go here
This tutorial is only for those member who want to upload an image from their computer, pc, mac, laptop, tablet, mobile or any other device. Please follow the below steps

1. Click on the "i" icon from the text editor as shown in the below image.

*This image is copyright of its original author

2. It will open a windows from your system asking to select the image file you want to upload. Please go to the folder in which you have image and select it by clicking on it and then click on "Open" button. See below image

*This image is copyright of its original author

3. It will start uploading the image, "i" icon will disappear and spinning icon will come in place of it. Please wait for some time. See the below image

*This image is copyright of its original author

4.When image uploading is finished, the spinning icon will disappear and "i" icon will come back. You will see uploaded image directly inside text editor as show in below image.

*This image is copyright of its original author

5. Now complete your writing or copy paste the text etc. Or you can follow the same above procedure to upload more image.

6. Click on "Preview Post" If you want to see post before final posting OR click on "Post Reply" to finally submit your reply or thread.

This is how you will upload images from your computer, laptop in post while replying or creating new thread. Hope this help.

note: the above process will upload image from your system to imgur server (an image hosting website).
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Posted by: peter - 04-04-2014, 06:52 AM - Forum: Premier League - Replies (220)

Although there are more wild lions (25 000 - 30 000, experts think) than wild tigers (about 3 000), lions have rapidly lost ground in the last decades. The population in Gir (India) is more or less stable, but in Africa the situation is different.  

Lions are protected in well-known reserves, but they struggle in regions where they have to compete with humans. In many parts of Africa, they are faced with loss of habitat and poachers.

How solve this problem?  

The answer was saltwater crocs in Australia, some thought. Although they eat humans at times, their skin was the main reason they were hunted close to extinction. How save wild crocs and meet the demand? Croc farms!  

Could lion farms be a solution for problems in Africa?

Not quite. Wild lions, in contrast to crocs, compete with humans in that they use similar regions. They also eat them at times. How solve these problems when it is also known big game hunters like lions? Lion farms!

The main advantage of lion farms is revenues. Revenues for those who invested in these farms in particular. As they only make money when lions are sold to zoos or shot by hunters, lion farming compares to any other business in that it is about making a few bucks in the end. True, the owners say, but locals profit as well and some hunters prefer farm lions over wild lions, thus limiting poaching. Farm lions are bigger and hunting them is way easier than hunting wild lions. Murder, opponents say. True, but it has an effect on poaching and poaching in Africa is very big business. Many species in Africa walk the edge as a direct result.    

This thread is dedicated to wild lions. Anyone with good information (old and new) is invited to share it here.
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  How to insert image in text editor on this forum
Posted by: sanjay - 04-04-2014, 01:21 AM - Forum: Tips, Guides, Tutorial & Technical Problem - Replies (5)
Note: This tutorial is update for new editor on 23-Oct-2015
If you are looking to upload image from your computer, laptop, tablet, mobile or any other device then this tutorial is not for you, please go to here
In this tutorial we teach how to insert images in your post from other websites, like photobucket, facebook, google image, tinyurl or any image on internet. Please follow the below steps

1. First Click on the image icon at the top of the Text Editor as shown in the below image.

*This image is copyright of its original author

2. Now an inline  popup with text boxes will appear, as shown in below image.

*This image is copyright of its original author

3. Go to the image which you want to insert. In this tutorial I am inserting an image (this is the link of image used in this tutorial:- from google. You can use image link from any other website.
  a). Copy the link of image in the text box as shown in step 1 of the below image.
  b). You can also set image width and height but it is optional.
  c). Now click on "Insert" button as shown in step 2 of the below image, this will insert the image inside text editor at the position where you were typing.

*This image is copyright of its original author

4. You can see the image inside text editor as show in below image.

*This image is copyright of its original author

5. Now complete your writing or copy paste the text etc. Or you can follow the same above procedure to insert more image.

6. Click on "Preview Post" If you want to see post before final posting OR click on  "Post Reply" to finally submit your reply or thread.

This is how you will insert image from any other source from internet. Similarly you can insert image from any source as long as you can get the link of image.
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  Info on other animal forums
Posted by: peter - 04-03-2014, 10:33 PM - Forum: Suggestion, Feedback and Complaint - Replies (5)
It's very likely all AVA forums will be deleted in the near future (reliable source). Former posters are adviced to copy (and paste) those threads and posts considered interesting. We could perhaps create a new board here to store posts and even complete threads.
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Wink B2 and Other Great Tiger Pics from India
Posted by: Roflcopters - 04-03-2014, 08:45 PM - Forum: Tiger - Replies (2560)
Ok this will officially be the new place for us to post tiger pictures, hope to see all the old faces.

will update later.
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Posted by: peter - 04-03-2014, 08:58 AM - Forum: Premier League - Replies (2121)
01 - CURRENT STATUS (2015)

At the turn of the last century, there could have been about 100.000 wild tigers in Asia.


" ... fewer than 4000 inhabit the forests of Asia - a historically low number. These tigers occupy only 7% of their former estimated distribution range ... and 70% of them ... occupy only 0,5% of their historical range ... " ('Planning Tiger Recovery: Understanding Intraspecific Variation for Effective Conservation', Wilting et al., 2015).

As many live in isolated small patches not connected to others, it has to be expected the lack of new genes will have significant consequences. Most wild tigers are doomed, that is.

Experts think only tigers living in south-west India, the Terai and Primorye could stand a chance in the long run, which would be some decades. Recent reports of TRAFFIC and other organisations, however, show tigers are poached in these regions as well.

Most poached tigers pop up in small parts in some form somewhere in Asia. Tiger poaching is an interesting business on account of the very limited number of wild animals. The trade in wild animals all over the world is big business. Billions of dollars every year also means poachers are well armed and dangerous. If what we see today is typical for the future, a policy like the one adopted in Kazirangha might be the only option.

This thread is dedicated to tigers. Anyone with good information is invited to share it here.
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  Any Change In forum Category or Order ?
Posted by: sanjay - 04-02-2014, 12:33 AM - Forum: Suggestion, Feedback and Complaint - Replies (7)
Dear Members,

Feel free to give your suggestion that you think

1. Need to re-order the forum or category.
2. Add extra category
3. Add extra forum or sub-forum.
4. Or any other improvement or change in the way forum and category is currently displayed.

Your suggestion will be taken into consideration and after approval with other members will be applied.
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  Brander, Hewett and the Maharaja of Cooch Behar: a review to the records
Posted by: GuateGojira - 04-01-2014, 11:49 AM - Forum: Wild Cats - Replies (15)
I made this new topic because I made a review to all the weights and sizes from these three hunters and naturalist of the first part of the 19 century. Besides, it is fair to say that the records of these three men present the largest samples and series of measurements of all times, given the only reliable clips about the real spectrum of sizes that the tigers can present.

The point is also to compare the figures that I obtained with those of peter, because when I made my review, none of the averages or ranges match with those of him.

Let’s begin the investigation in order the set the final figures that will be used in the future.

Dunbar Brander (1923) Wild Animals in Central India:

There is not much to say about him. He presents his records in a clean form, no interpretation, just the average, ranges and sample sizes. Here are the images:

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

It is interesting to see that the figures that he proposes are for “gorged” tigers, however he also say that although he used only those that he classified as adults, he confess that this is a very hard work and that at the end, that classification is a plain “guess”. In this case, many juveniles’ specimens were included in his sample, but this will help to balance the averages that could be inflated by the gorged specimens. The figure of 420 lb. (190.5 kg - males) and 290 lb. (131.5 kg – females) would represent, in this case, the average of more or less empty belly tigers, thanks to the inclusions of young specimens.

Among all the length records, the longest tiger of Brander (10 ft 3 in – 313 cm) represent the forth longest male tiger measured between pegs, apart from the record tigers of Gerard Wood (1978), which measured 323, 322 and 320 cm between pegs. However, his largest tiger was not the longest just because its tail was cut off. This huge male measured 7 ft 3 inn (221 cm) in head-body between pegs, been the largest wild cat ever measured, and only surpassed by the great prehistoric felids. If this giant could have a tail of 113 cm (the tail recorded for the Sauraha male), it would measure 333 cm between pegs. This male is practically of the same size (if not slightly larger) than the largest male Amur tiger hunted by Jankovski (quoted by Mazák).

In the case of Brander, everything in already written, explained and we can use it safely. :sleepy:

John P. Hewett (1938) Jungle Trails in Northern India: Reminiscences of Hunting in India:

These are the best records from the northwest area of India. This was the region where Jim Corbett lived and where the famous Bachelor of Powalgarh made its domains.

Hewett was a great hunter and naturalist, but he don’t present all his records in a single form, he gives the list of his largest ones but all the other are scattered through the book. In this case, I used the images posted by peter and Bold champ, in order the get the full list of specimens presented by Hewett in his book. Here are all the original images:

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

Note: the post allows only 10 images for post. The next images will be in my next post.

Based in all these weights, I constructed the following tables (preliminary) for male and female tigers:

*This image is copyright of its original author

The average weight for males was of 202.1 kg (n=19; range 165.6 – 258.5) while that of females was of 139.4 kg (n=7; range 117.9 – 157.4). This surprises me because the figures of peter are completely different. Here is the comparison:

Me (2014): Males - 202.1 kg (n=19; range 165.6 – 258.5).
Females - 139.4 kg (n=7; range 117.9 – 157.4).
From peter: Males - 197.6 kg (n=18; range 161.0 – 258.5).
Females – 132.9 kg (n=8; range 113.4 – 157.4).

My first thought was that I was wrong and I copy again all the records, this time manually and latter I compare them with those of my excel sheet. The result was clear: I had not repeated any record and I have not found in any part the weights of the smallest specimens (355 lb for the male; 250 lb for the female).

About the female, the sample of peter is larger, so it is possible that Bold simple don’t found the record and didn’t take a picture of it. However, for the male tigers, my sample is larger and I highly doubt that Bold would lose the opportunity to show such a small specimen. My guess is that in the case of the male, maybe peter misquotes the figure of 365 lb, while in the case of the female I think that Bold slipped that figure in his pictures. Take in count that this is just speculation, and peter is the only one that could clarify those records.

It is interesting to see that if we take only the specimens over 170 kg (the male of 368 lb was a cub with his sister; the male of 365 lb had porcupine quills in its back), the average will be of 209 kg (n=16), slightly higher than the records of Cooch Behar (excluding the gorged or full of beef specimens). If we include the male of 355 lb, the average would be of 200 kg (n=20).

It seems that the tigers from the northwest India had average figures of no less than 200 kg for males and 130 kg for females. However, I need the help of peter in order the set the official figure in this area. About the total length (which is the only measurement presented by Hewett), I am not interested as it was taken over curves. So, in that case, I would only copy-paste the figures of peter.

Here are the other images from Bold:

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

*This image is copyright of its original author

He posted 14 images in total.
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  If you are new join in wildfact community
Posted by: sanjay - 04-01-2014, 01:36 AM - Forum: Tips, Guides, Tutorial & Technical Problem - No Replies
If you have join the forum recently and reading this thread, then I have some tips for you to get starting here.

1. If you think you can contribute to the wildfact community with your knowledge and data, then contact @peter with your expertise details. He will direct you.

2. If you are here just to learn about your favorite wild animals, keep coming back regularly. Book mark it.

3. You can also go to this link to give feedback, suggestion etc.

4. Please like wildfact community on facebook and spread the world about this forum. You can find the facebook like button at the top of the every page.

5. Also if you like any thread here, you can, tweet, like on facebook, share on facebook or plus it. You will get it at top of every thread page.

6. This forum is best viewed in chrome and firefox browser.

I request all of you to keep this forum growing with good data and knowledge.

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