viagra online bestellen legal Name Meaning: Fearsome panther

Location Found: SInkhole in Marion County, FL

Geologic Era: Pleistocene

Size: Up to 1,153 pounds for large male, 2.5 meters long, 1.2 meters tall

Estimated Range: Modern North America, possible specimens also found in South America

Extinction: Roughly 11,000 years ago

Shown below is a middle caudal (tail) vertebra of an American lion. American big cat finds are not terribly common in Florida, and tend to be scattered and isolated. The vertebra is roughly 1.75 inches long, and a little over an inch tall. This specimen came from a mature adult. The bone is in good condition overall, with only a little erosion visible on some of the processes.

The American lion was one of the largest cats to ever live. Large individuals were about 25% larger than a modern African lion. Most remains have been found in North America, with newer finds suggesting a range that also included South America. Interestingly, the appearance of large mammalian South America seems to coincide with the disappearance of the phorusrhachids, or terror birds. This could point to the idea that North American predators such as lions and sabercats were able to dethrone the terror birds as top predators. American lions probably targeted animals such as horses, bison, camels for prey items, similar to modern lions.

Full skeleton of Panthera atrox

In terms of appearance, the American lion probably had a reddish coat, based on South American cave paintings. The males also probably did not have manes. There is a possibility that the American lion hunted and lived in prides, similar to modern lions. Based on cave paintings in France, European cave lions appeared to live and travel in groups. Since the American lion is considered a sister lineage to the European lions, it is not inconceivable that they had similar habits. The only real predator of the American lion would have been the earliest Native Americans, since lion bones have been found in early American trash heaps. This hunting may have contributed to the extinction of the American lion a little over 11,000 years ago.

Image Credits:

Life Restoration: By Sergiodlarosa, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=6835362

Skeleton: By Ed Bierman from CA, usa – BearUploaded by FunkMonk, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=20581305