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Advantages & Disadvantages of a Huge Mane

 
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vlad
Clouded Leopard
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Joined: 24 Jul 2005
Posts: 2703
Location: Enjoying the CYBER-JUNGLE!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2006 9:11 am    Post subject: Advantages & Disadvantages of a Huge Mane Reply with quote
This article summarizes the results of a scientific study which appeared in the April 13 issue of the Journal of Mammalogy. The study showed that female lions take mane size into consideration when selecting a mate. A male lion with a lush, full, thick mane stands a better chance with females than one with a "ratty" looking mane. Testosterone levels and mane growth are linked (one of the reasons that male lions should not be neutered - their beautiful manes will fall out! Shocked ).

I read on Bigcat Rescue's website the story of a male lion who was housed with a female tiger that he had been raised with. They were both rescues. The two had been together all of their lives and apparently enjoyed each other's company. So they were eventually placed in the same habitat. However - in order to prevent any "accidents" with these two love birds - the male lion was given a vascectomy as opposed to neutering.

http://www.bigcatrescue.org/images/RescueBigCats/LionTigerPhotos/108_0832.JPG
(source: Bigcat Rescue website "Rescue News" http://www.bigcatrescue.org/rescue_news_lionwhitetiger.htm)

In the below article - there are pics of lions with some SERIOUS manes. Although a full mane is a big plus with the lionesses - it poses some disadvantages in the wild! Their manes make them very obvious to potential prey, harbors parasites and can cause the lions to overheat in hot arid temperatures:

Lion's Sexy Secret: It's in the Mane
by Bjorn Carey, LiveScience Staff Writer, LiveScience.com, Apr 15, 2006
http://news.yahoo.com/s/space/20060415/sc_space/lionssexysecretitsinthemane

There is more information about the advantages of a lion's mane on the Tigerhomes website educational pages...
Arrow African Lions - Asiatic Lion - Information, Range and Habitat

We have also discussed lions manes previously in the forum:
Arrow Different Species of Lions

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vlad
Clouded Leopard
Clouded Leopard


Joined: 24 Jul 2005
Posts: 2703
Location: Enjoying the CYBER-JUNGLE!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
I'm still fascinated with why lions have manes! They are the only cats that have them. Apparently I'm not alone. This has been studied quite a bit, and by different groups! Here's a study from the Lion Research Center - in case anyone is interested...

Lion Mane Research
http://www.lionresearch.org/current_docs/lion_mane.html
(source: Lion Research Center website)

"Our data confirmed what the model tests had suggested. Males with shorter manes had often been injured or sick suggesting that mane length conveys information about current fighting ability. Males with darker manes were older, had higher testosterone levels, were more likely to recover from injury, spent more time resident with prides, and had higher offspring survival. Thus, mane color appears to convey information about male maturity and experience, testosterone-related aggression, and potential reproductive success."

This study from National Geographic makes some intersting points:

If you're a male lion - blondes do NOT have more fun! Female lions prefer dark manes (likely for the reasons stated in the article above). Another interesing thing is that males look at each other's manes to figure out whether it is "worth it" to engage in a fight with another male lion. Since the mane is an indicator of health, maturity, etc. - male lions will check out each others manes to help them figure out whether a battle with an opponent may be too costly. Ultimately - these animals will not engage in confrontations which are likely to result in their injury. What it all boils down to is survival.

Female Lions Prefer Dark-Maned Males, Study Finds
by Bijal P. Trivedi, National Geographic Today, August 22, 2002
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0822_020822_TVlion.html


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cKc
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Joined: 21 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 6:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote
A very interesting subject, i've also always wondered why lions have manes. I could never fully go with the theory that it was for protection as surely some of the other big cats would have evolved to have them too if this was the case. It always seemed to me that it is somewhat of a disadvantage having all that fur round the head especially in very hot countries considering the amount of heat it must trap inside the body.
The idea of them communicating information about a lions health, age ect certainly seems more feasible but then theres also this point that was mentioned in the National Geograpic article in refrence to the mane attracting females:

Quote:
"Males forcefully enter prides; they often kill resident cubs. Females must make the best of a bad situation and thus after a few months will conceive with the new males. To me, this doesn't sound like the setting where females can go around being choosy."


Then again maybe some further research into this about the mane types of the defeated lion and the new 'King' of the pride could shed some further light on things. Im also wondering if maybe if the females settle back to normal and accept certain males quicker - can't quite find the right words I want here so hope you understand what im trying to say - depending on their manes. Would be an interesting thing to know in relation to the whole 'mane' debate. Sorry about the bad pun, couldn't resist. Rolling Eyes
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vlad
Clouded Leopard
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Joined: 24 Jul 2005
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Location: Enjoying the CYBER-JUNGLE!

PostPosted: Sun Apr 23, 2006 1:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote
Interesting note from the article summarizing the recently published article in the Journal of Mammalogy:

Lion's Sexy Secret: It's in the Mane
Bjorn Carey, LiveScience Staff Writer, LiveScience.com, Sat Apr 15

"After losing a fight, a wild lion feels less manly and his testosterone levels drop, which thins out his mane."

The below article concludes by stating that although female lions have a preference for dark maned lions (whether their manes or longer or not), the females don't really have a choice about which males they will mate with once new males take over a pride.
http://www.bio.davidson.edu/people/vecase/Behavior/Spring2004/shelburne/mating.html

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