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American Lion
Panthera leo atrox Sergiodlarosa 1
Panthera leo atrox
(Hemmer, 1974)
Information
Range

During Pleistocene: Alaska to Peru, but was absent in northeastern Canada, the U.S. and southern Florida

Scientific Classification
Kingdom

Animalia

Phylum

Chordata

Class

Mammalia

Order

Carnivora

Suborder

Feliformia

Family

Felidae

Subamily

Pantherinae

Genus

Panthera

Species

†P. atrox

Conservation Status
(IUCN 3.1)
File:EXSpecies.png
Extinct

The American lion, also known as Naegele's giant jaguar or American cave lion, is an extinct species of lion that once roamed North and South America during the Pleistocene era about 340,000 to 11,000 years ago.

Appearance[]

According to cave paintings, American lions were mane-less and covered with dark spots. They were estimated to have measured 5'3 to 8'2, making it larger than the smilodon.  Overall, they resemble modern lions but larger, and are believed to have been the largest species of lion.

History[]

About 15,000 years ago the Ice Age era was beginning to end. As the earth began to get warmer, many animals retreated to the savannahs and grasslands of North America from Asia. They did this by crossing the Beringian land bridge when it was open between Siberia and Alaska. Falling sea levels caused by the Ice Age created another land bridge between the two continents, allowing the American lion and other mammals to cross from North to South America. Which was a period known as "The Great Interchange". However, at the end of the late Pleistocene about 12,000 years ago, the American lion and other large mammals went extinct, during the Quaternary extinction. Another factor for it's extinction were Paleolithic humans, which were the only predators of the American lion.

Trivia[]

  • Panthera means “Panther”, Leo “Lion”, and Atrox means "cruel" or "frightful" in Latin making "Frightful Panther or Lion".
  • No other mammal (except for humans) has had such a wide geographical distribution as the extinct lion.
  • They were 25% larger than the modern lion.
  • They were able to reach the speed of 30 miles per hour.
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