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ON THE EDGE OF EXTINCTION - B - THE LION (Panthera leo)

Malaysia johnny rex Offline
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( This post was last modified: 09-05-2018, 05:25 AM by johnny rex )

(04-23-2014, 09:28 AM)Kingtheropod Wrote:  Regarding the lions of Botswana and the Ngamiland area (Okavango/Chobe) in particular I would also respectfully disagree. The Okavango/Chobe region is well protected and has a naturally high abundance of prey, ideal for producing big lions. There doesn’t appear to be much data available on their weight but they were regarded as being large and impressive by professional hunters and their skulls feature prominently in the record books. For example, even Peter Capstick who you’ve noted above considered Botswanan lions among the biggest as did John Kingsley-Heath, another experienced professional hunter of the 60s/70s.  Apart from the 2 unusually low weights reported by Smithers which I suspect were taken from animals in poor condition the only other recorded weight from Botswana I’m aware of for a male lion is from the Central Kalahari Lion Research Project. On their old website it was stated that the biggest of the 4 males they had collared at the time (about 3 years ago) weighed 222kg. Also, in the book “Cry of the Kalahari” written by researchers, Mark and Delia Owens it is stated that a pair of young adult males each weighed over 450lbs (205kg). The Owens did collar some of the lions they studied but it’s not clear whether these lions were actually weighed or whether this was an estimate.

A big male lion immobilized by the CKLR project, possibly the 222kg specimen.


*This image is copyright of its original author


Excerpt from “Cry of the Kalahari” pertaining to the weight of 2 young adult males from the Central Kalahari GR in Botswana.


*This image is copyright of its original author


Though there doesn’t appear to be any published data on lion weights from northern Botswana (Okavango/Chobe) we do have pretty good data from the surrounding regions. Average weights from Namibia in the west, the Kalahari in the south, and Zimbabwe in the east fall in the 400-440lb range so it’s reasonable to suspect something similar from the Okavango. In fact, the highest weights are from north-western Zimbabwe from the Matetsi/Hwange region which is right on the border with northern Botswana and forms a continuous block of wilderness with the Chobe NP and the Okavango. The lions of Matetsi/Hwange are actually part of the same population block as those in northern Botswana. Thus with the same genes and more abundant prey I would expect the Okavango lions to be at least as large.

Lion skulls from the 1975 Rowland Wards. Skulls from Botswana feature prominently in these records with a number over 400mm (15.75") from the region. Note: Ngamiland refers to northern Botswana (Okavango/Chobe region) and specific places such as Khwai, Xugana, Khurunzaragha, Savuti all lie within this region.


*This image is copyright of its original author



*This image is copyright of its original author



And in case you guys haven't already seen this, here’s some data on Namibian lions from the paper, "The use of Sernylan as an immobilising agent and anaesthetic for wild carnivorous mammals in South West Africa" 1970.  Four adult males which were weighed averaged 422.5lbs (192kg), ranging from 390lb to 500lbs.


*This image is copyright of its original author


There's no indication given in the paper that baits were used to capture lions. The methods section from the paper.



*This image is copyright of its original author


And yes some of the lions were indeed weighed. Only those marked in the table by "c" were estimates, this should be obvious. And though it certainly is unlikely that the exact weights of all those lions ended exactly in O's, the recorded weight would depend on the type of scale used as some are less precise than others and give figures rounded to the nearest 10lbs. That means a lion which weighs 403lbs would register as 400lbs on such a scale, doesn’t change the fact that lion was weighed.  At the very least it gives a very precise estimate of weight (ie. 395-405lbs)

Photo of a lion being weighed from the same paper.


*This image is copyright of its original author

Is that 18 inch lion skull measured accurately? Are those measurements in Rowland Wards list reliable? That's definitely the largest lion skull if it was indeed measured accurately. What is pretty amazing is most of the 16+ inch lion skulls belong to East African lions (which are usually smaller than the Southern African lions) and the 2nd longest skull according to the list actually belong to a Central African lion which is normally smaller than the Southern African lion. But @GuateGojira also mentioned a 432 mm lion skull which also featured in Rowland Wards although I forgot which edition.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(09-04-2018, 12:37 PM)sanjay Wrote: Welcome back @GuateGojira .. Where were you have been ?
Long story, but good thing is that I am here and I will continue participating in this great place. Thank you for asking @sanjay .
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(09-05-2018, 05:24 AM)johnny rex Wrote: Is that 18 inch lion skull measured accurately? Are those measurements in Rowland Wards list reliable? That's definitely the largest lion skull if it was indeed measured accurately. What is pretty amazing is most of the 16+ inch lion skulls belong to East African lions (which are usually smaller than the Southern African lions) and the 2nd longest skull according to the list actually belong to a Central African lion which is normally smaller than the Southern African lion. But @GuateGojira  also mentioned a 432 mm lion skull which also featured in Rowland Wards although I forgot which edition.
Hello @johnny rex , In fact, that skull of 18 inches is not accurate at all, that size is only reached by Panthera atrox and Panthera spelaea fossilis.

The record of the South African lion of 432 mm is, in fact, incorrect. I resently found a book from Theodore Roosevelt (more information in the future) where he describes that the real size of that particular skull was of 406 mm in greatest length. Even worst, that skull is not from a wild animal but from a captive one. So, there is no record of 432 mm, Rowland Ward figure is incorrect, but we must take in count that the figures came with the label of "Owner's measurements".

For the moment, the longest skull that I know, from a wild specimen and from a reliable-scientific source, is a male lion from a male from Ngamiland ID: V.-L.K.E.244 with a greatest length of 401 mm (Roberts, 1952). Vratislav Mazák (2013; reprint of 1983) measured an skull of 402 mm, but altough this is from a wild origin animal, he was also kept in captivity and that may have influence his size too.

Yamaguchi et al. (2009) reports two speciments of 420 mm in greates length (copy-pasted by Hunter 2015), however based on the average figures is posible that those were captive specimens, as Yamaguchi mixed wild and captive specimens in his samples and the captive lions averages are larger than the wild ones. Finally Hemmer (1974) report that the maximum length recorded for a male lion skull is of 419 mm, but he did not measured those skulls personally, the original sources are a book of hunting records.

Hope this helps.
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(09-04-2018, 07:04 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: I have a question, are you sure that the figure of 120 cm in standing height cannot be reached by any lion, considering the limited populations of lions used in the study of Smuts et al. (https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wi....tb01433.x)? For Southern Africa in particular, Smuts et al. used samples from Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), the Kalahari region (divided between Botswana, Namibia and South Africa) and Kruger National Park in South Africa, and I would like to mention that Botswanan lions in the Okavango Delta have a peculiar physique, in which the front part of the body is noticeably more prominent than the rear, or the front limbs are noticeably more prominent than the hind limbs, making them somewhat similar to hyenas and saber-toothed cats, and this has to do with their unusual lifestyle of swimming or going through water or swamps: 

Photo of an Okavango lion by Steve Jurvetson on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/6758587589/ 
In fact, if you check the graphics in the document of Smuts et al. (1980), those shoulder measurements were taken by Dr Smuts and his team in the Kruger Park, and he specifically says that is not the standing height. There is no height reported for any other places in that paper.

A new study using cameras and lasers, also in Kruger, shows no male lion over 110 cm in standing height. If we only check pictures is very easy to be impresed by the size of those lions, but even a lion/tiger of 90 cm looks huge!
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Malaysia johnny rex Offline
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By the way, the list below is Safari Club International records of lion skulls.

Attached Files Image(s)
   
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(09-07-2018, 09:10 PM)johnny rex Wrote: By the way, the list below is Safari Club International records of lion skulls.

Very interesting information, there is any form to disclose the length and wide of those skulls.

As far I know, SCI still accepted "canned" lions until February 2018, there could be a possibility that some of those records came from those facilities?
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Malaysia johnny rex Offline
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( This post was last modified: 09-08-2018, 01:55 PM by johnny rex )

(09-08-2018, 02:36 AM)GuateGojira Wrote:
(09-07-2018, 09:10 PM)johnny rex Wrote: By the way, the list below is Safari Club International records of lion skulls.

Very interesting information, there is any form to disclose the length and wide of those skulls.

As far I know, SCI still accepted "canned" lions until February 2018, there could be a possibility that some of those records came from those facilities?

You can see more details on the skulls if you subscribe to their website (http://www.scirecordbook.org/login/). I got the list from another forum. Maybe those record skulls belong to captive lions but there are locations and guides/outfitters for each of those lion skulls, if those are captive skulls then guides/outfitters should not be in the list I think. I'm not really sure if those measurements are reliable or 100% accurate.
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Other than the MacKenzie's 18 inch lion skull, below is a 17 inch lion skull from Rowland Ward 1914 edition.

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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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( This post was last modified: 09-09-2018, 03:14 AM by GuateGojira )

The lion skull of 432 mm – 17 inches long.
 
In the old debates of AVA forum, when I investigated all the records of lions and tigers, completely focused on sizes, I found that this skull of 17 inches reported by Rowland Ward was, in fact, the largest skull on record and by far the most massive. Incredibly, it says that it was housed in the Berlin Museum, which added credibility to the record, but I must confess that as this was an “Owner’s measurements” figure, I always had my reserves whit it.
 
However, during my retirement from the forum, I continued with my investigations and I found something very interesting. When I searched for the largest lion skulls actually measured, I checked again the table of Dr Patterson in his book “The Lions of Tsavo”, and here it is:

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
I noted that the largest skull was of 16 inches long and 10.7 inches wide (406.4 mm by 271.8) which is a record itself and is says that was collected in the 1909 safari. The reference was “Roosevelt & Heller, 1914” so I search it and guess what, I found it!
 
The book's name is “Life-Histories of African Game Animals” by Theodore Roosevelt and Edmund Heller, published in 1914 (fully available online). Is very good book, full of stories and also measurements of animals, for those who like to collect them. In page No. 225 I found this jewel, check it:

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
The first part Roosevelt records the size of the skulls of East African lions, he says that in the National Museum of British East Africa the largest skull was of 373.0 mm, the average of the 15 old males is of 358.8 mm and the smallest male is of 349.2 mm. Check that these are specimens housed in the museum and not reported in a hunting record book. The figures are similar to those from Roberts (1951) for the specimens labeled as “L. l. massaicus”. It seems that about 360 mm is a good average for a male lion in the East of Africa.

Latter it came the “bomb”: Roosevelt says that the largest skull in Rowland Ward's records came from a male in the Berlin Museum from a South African specimen that lived in the Transvaal Zoological Gardens of Delagoa Bay, so guess what, that is exactly the same information of the large skull in Rowland Ward’s Records of Big game until the edition of 1914. More on the case, Roosevelt says that “The length of this skull, as measured by Heller, is 16 1/16 inches.” This is 408 mm or 16.08 inches (Patterson (2004) put only 16.0 inches) and “The greatest zygomatic width of this skull is 10 11/16 inches.” This is 271 mm or 10.7 inches like Patterson (2004). So the information with Ward (1914) matches and the measurements with Patterson (2004) also match, but why the size in Ward's is larger? Well, Roosevelt says “Ward records this skull also as the longest, but overstates its length, giving it as 17 inches”. So that is the reason, the size is incorrect in Ward (1914) and the origin is incorrect in Patterson (2004).
 
Interesting, the widest skull was of 277 mm but it is a captive specimen in USA and obviously affected by the confinement, this is clearly stated by Hollister (1917), check the table.

*This image is copyright of its original author

In the document “The Three-Dimensional Morphological Effects of Captivity“ of 2014, Dr Hartstone-Rose and his team measured 20 skulls from adult male lions, 10 captive and 10 wild, and the extremes are these:
 
** Wild:
Longest: Sp. 155443 – GSL 373.2 and ZW 235.2
Widest: Sp. 162913 – GSL 368.6 and ZW 251.1
 
** Captive
Longest: Sp. 254455 – GSL 387.8 and ZW 251.5
Widest: Sp. 172677 – GSL 371.6 and ZW 270.1
 
Again, the captive lions surpass the wild ones and produces high figures. The wild ones match the records from wild males from Roberts (1951).
For the moment, the widest skull from a male lion came from two specimens of 256 mm from South Africa. There is skull with a wide of almost 270 mm in the graphic of Patterson (2004) from Tsavo and other two specimens labelled as “Panthera leo leo”, which means that may belong from any part from the Sub-saharan region, but now that we know that captive specimens are included in the graphic, I don’t know how accurate it is, especially with the previous confusion. however it seems interesting that the second wides male in Hollister's (1917) table is of 264 mm (GSL 363 mm) and the widest skull of Hartstone-Rose et al. (2014) is of 270.1 mm (GSL 371.6). Believe it nor not it match the two skulls labeled as "Panthera leo leo" in the Patterson (2004) graphic, so the only remaining lion skull over 260 mm in ZW is that of the Tsavo male, only the time will tell what I am going to found about it.

Conclusion:
The largest lion skull actually recorded came from a captive specimen that had a greatest skull length of 408 mm and a zygomatic wide of 271 mm; the skull originated at South Africa, from a specimen that lived in the Transvaal Zoological Gardens of Delagoa Bay. That is the true of this specimen. The skull was not of 17 inches - 432 mm, was not a wild specimen and was not from East Africa. The current longest wild male measured by scientists is a skull of 401 mm from Southern Africa (Roberts, 1951), and the wild/captive male of 402 mm measured by Mazák (2013 - 1983), from Ethiopia. There are first hand hunting records of skull of 406 mm (Stevenson-Hamilton) and up to 419 mm (Vaugan Kirby), but the problem is that they don’t describe the method how they measured its skull (with calipers, squares at the tips or with a tape) and if they included, or not, the mandible, which is important according with the detractors of the old hunting records.
 
Hope this helps and clarify the case ones for all.
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United Arab Emirates BorneanTiger Offline
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( This post was last modified: 09-09-2018, 09:37 PM by BorneanTiger )

(09-09-2018, 03:09 AM)GuateGojira Wrote: The lion skull of 432 mm – 17 inches long.
 
In the old debates of AVA forum, when I investigated all the records of lions and tigers, completely focused on sizes, I found that this skull of 17 inches reported by Rowland Ward was, in fact, the largest skull on record and by far the most massive. Incredibly, it says that it was housed in the Berlin Museum, which added credibility to the record, but I must confess that as this was an “Owner’s measurements” figure, I always had my reserves whit it.
 
However, during my retirement from the forum, I continued with my investigations and I found something very interesting. When I searched for the largest lion skulls actually measured, I checked again the table of Dr Patterson in his book “The Lions of Tsavo”, and here it is:

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
I noted that the largest skull was of 16 inches long and 10.7 inches wide (406.4 mm by 271.8) which is a record itself and is says that was collected in the 1909 safari. The reference was “Roosevelt & Heller, 1914” so I search it and guess what, I found it!
 
The book's name is “Life-Histories of African Game Animals” by Theodore Roosevelt and Edmund Heller, published in 1914 (fully available online). Is very good book, full of stories and also measurements of animals, for those who like to collect them. In page No. 225 I found this jewel, check it:

*This image is copyright of its original author
 
The first part Roosevelt records the size of the skulls of East African lions, he says that in the National Museum of British East Africa the largest skull was of 373.0 mm, the average of the 15 old males is of 358.8 mm and the smallest male is of 349.2 mm. Check that these are specimens housed in the museum and not reported in a hunting record book. The figures are similar to those from Roberts (1951) for the specimens labeled as “L. l. massaicus”. It seems that about 360 mm is a good average for a male lion in the East of Africa.

Latter it came the “bomb”: Roosevelt says that the largest skull in Rowland Ward's records came from a male in the Berlin Museum from a South African specimen that lived in the Transvaal Zoological Gardens of Delagoa Bay, so guess what, that is exactly the same information of the large skull in Rowland Ward’s Records of Big game until the edition of 1914. More on the case, Roosevelt says that “The length of this skull, as measured by Heller, is 16 1/16 inches.” This is 408 mm or 16.08 inches (Patterson (2004) put only 16.0 inches) and “The greatest zygomatic width of this skull is 10 11/16 inches.” This is 271 mm or 10.7 inches like Patterson (2004). So the information with Ward (1914) matches and the measurements with Patterson (2004) also match, but why the size in Ward's is larger? Well, Roosevelt says “Ward records this skull also as the longest, but overstates its length, giving it as 17 inches”. So that is the reason, the size is incorrect in Ward (1914) and the origin is incorrect in Patterson (2004).
 
Interesting, the widest skull was of 277 mm but it is a captive specimen in USA and obviously affected by the confinement, this is clearly stated by Hollister (1917), check the table.

*This image is copyright of its original author

In the document “The Three-Dimensional Morphological Effects of Captivity“ of 2014, Dr Hartstone-Rose and his team measured 20 skulls from adult male lions, 10 captive and 10 wild, and the extremes are these:
 
** Wild:
Longest: Sp. 155443 – GSL 373.2 and ZW 235.2
Widest: Sp. 162913 – GSL 368.6 and ZW 251.1
 
** Captive
Longest: Sp. 254455 – GSL 387.8 and ZW 251.5
Widest: Sp. 172677 – GSL 371.6 and ZW 270.1
 
Again, the captive lions surpass the wild ones and produces high figures. The wild ones match the records from wild males from Roberts (1951).
For the moment, the widest skull from a male lion came from two specimens of 256 mm from South Africa. There is skull with a wide of almost 270 mm in the graphic of Patterson (2004) from Tsavo and other two specimens labelled as “Panthera leo leo”, which means that may belong from any part from the Sub-saharan region, but now that we know that captive specimens are included in the graphic, I don’t know how accurate it is, especially with the previous confusion. however it seems interesting that the second wides male in Hollister's (1917) table is of 264 mm (GSL 363 mm) and the widest skull of Hartstone-Rose et al. (2014) is of 270.1 mm (GSL 371.6). Believe it nor not it match the two skulls labeled as "Panthera leo leo" in the Patterson (2004) graphic, so the only remaining lion skull over 260 mm in ZW is that of the Tsavo male, only the time will tell what I am going to found about it.

Conclusion:
The largest lion skull actually recorded came from a captive specimen that had a greatest skull length of 408 mm and a zygomatic wide of 271 mm; the skull originated at South Africa, from a specimen that lived in the Transvaal Zoological Gardens of Delagoa Bay. That is the true of this specimen. The skull was not of 17 inches - 432 mm, was not a wild specimen and was not from East Africa. The current longest wild male measured by scientists is a skull of 401 mm from Southern Africa (Roberts, 1951), and the wild/captive male of 402 mm measured by Mazák (2013 - 1983), from Ethiopia. There are first hand hunting records of skull of 406 mm (Stevenson-Hamilton) and up to 419 mm (Vaugan Kirby), but the problem is that they don’t describe the method how they measured its skull (with calipers, squares at the tips or with a tape) and if they included, or not, the mandible, which is important according with the detractors of the old hunting records.
 
Hope this helps and clarify the case ones for all.

So the East African lion is a lion to be reckoned with, even though Smuts et al. (https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wi....tb01433.x) said that the East African lions they measured were on average lighter than Southern African lions from Kruger National Park, the Kalahari region and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). It's like what I said before, records for lions may vary by subspecies or region, so we have to be careful when someone says that the record for a lion's skull, weight or height is such-and-such, because different people say different things. For example, Heller (https://archive.org/stream/smithsonianmi...5/mode/2up) claimed that the Cape lion of South Africa was 'distinctly' the biggest lion that he had come across, and that the skulls of Cape lions were at least an inch (25 mm) longer that those of "equatorial races" (the Equator goes through Eastern and Central Africa, and runs just south of Western Africa, so these lions would be Eastern, Central and Western African lions): 

Credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-Ou1sMEhWKkg/VC...%2Bmap.png 

*This image is copyright of its original author


In addition, adventurist Peter Hathaway Capstick (https://books.google.com/books?id=21bmlR...ca&f=false) spoke of there being "exemplary lions" in East Africa.
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( This post was last modified: 09-10-2018, 12:14 PM by johnny rex )

Not sure if this skull is reliable or accurate, I remember there is even a 19-inch, 12-inch wide American lion (Panthera atrox) skull surfaced online.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lionzilla-monster-record-size-African-lion-skull-taxidermy-cast-replica-/262733812926
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Guatemala GuateGojira Offline
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(09-09-2018, 09:34 PM)BorneanTiger Wrote: So the East African lion is a lion to be reckoned with, even though Smuts et al. (https://zslpublications.onlinelibrary.wi....tb01433.x) said that the East African lions they measured were on average lighter than Southern African lions from Kruger National Park, the Kalahari region and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). It's like what I said before, records for lions may vary by subspecies or region, so we have to be careful when someone says that the record for a lion's skull, weight or height is such-and-such, because different people say different things. For example, Heller (https://archive.org/stream/smithsonianmi...5/mode/2up) claimed that the Cape lion of South Africa was 'distinctly' the biggest lion that he had come across, and that the skulls of Cape lions were at least an inch (25 mm) longer that those of "equatorial races" (the Equator goes through Eastern and Central Africa, and runs just south of Western Africa, so these lions would be Eastern, Central and Western African lions)

Actually, all the information available shows that East African lions are, in fact, smaller than those from Southern Africa, in weights and in skull length. 

The remark of Heller (1913) about the skulls is correct. A simple comparison between the East African lion skulls from Allen and Hollister with the skulls from South Africa in Roberts (1951) shows that the South African race is larger in all the departments. The two Ethiopian lions were captive specimens, in fact Heller fail to report that those lions were already captive before to transport them to USA, so the wide zygomatic arches are already affected by captivity.

I remember a skull from a Cape lion (which by the way, was only the southern population of the still living South Africa lion) measured by Mazák in this document "Notes on the Black-maned Lion of the Cape, Panthera Leo Melanochaita (Ch. H. Smith, 1842) and a Revised List of the Preserved Specimens" which he said it was the largest skull measured by him in that moment. Sadly the skull was broken, so based in the the available measurements and using other skulls as surrogates, he estimates a condylobasal length of near 355 mm for the Cape specimen B.M. 15.5.23.2. The CBL of the other 9 skulls from South Africa ranged from 327.8 to 350.5 m and GSL lengths from 379.3 to 396 mm; this means that the GSL of the Cape lion specimen was probably about 400 mm; it seems that this sizes are reached only in the Southern Africa region. 

Lions from West and Central Africa are the smallest in Africa and about the same size than the Indian lions.
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(09-10-2018, 11:54 AM)johnny rex Wrote: Not sure if this skull is reliable or accurate, I remember there is even a 19 -inch American, 12-inch wide lion skull surfaced online.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Lionzilla-monster-record-size-African-lion-skull-taxidermy-cast-replica-/262733812926

It is not accurate, it looks smaller that the large skull from Panthera atrox from Bone Clones which measured the same than the largest Panthera atrox skull in California. Check with @epaiva, he have the skull with him.

The skull in sale is that of a normal lion, check how the guy can take it with one hand only. Now check this images from Dr Yamaguchi and his beloved lions:

Here is with a modern lion:

*This image is copyright of its original author


Here with the Panthera atrox or American "lion".

*This image is copyright of its original author


As you can see, that skull in the article is not even near the huge size of the last specimen.

These measurements in the Internet webpages, specially for specimens in sale, are incorrectly derived, as they just run the tape along the curve of the skull, which inflate the real size.
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( This post was last modified: 09-12-2018, 08:10 AM by johnny rex )

               

Safari Club International Top Ten Records of African Lion skulls. I wonder if the measurements are indeed correct or accurate.
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( This post was last modified: 09-12-2018, 08:46 AM by johnny rex )

   
Angus Murray's SCI record lion skull at total score 28 6/16 at the left.
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