European cave lion (Panthera spelaea)also known as Eurasian cave lion, it went extinct over 13,000 years ago during the Pleistocene.
When they found its fossils, archaeologists thought it was a species related to the modern lion.
The cave lions were almost 121 cm tall and almost 213 meters long. They were so massive that they could feed on large animals like reindeer, bison, bears and mammoths.
Their weight reached 200-350 kg.
Panthera Leo spelaea lived in several parts of the European continent, in today’s Great Britain, the Iberian Peninsula, Central Europe, South-Eastern Europe and the Pontic steppes of Eastern Europe.
Fossils have also been found in Russia, Kazakhstan and several other regions, including Canada and Alaska.
They lived in coniferous forests, on pastures, but they stayed more often near cave dens to hunt bears.
Because European cave lions liked to hunt them and could often be found there, they were considered cave lions.
It is believed that one female could have given birth to one to six cubs. Once the lion cubs reached the age of five to seven months, they would be released from their parents and allowed to hunt, because they were growing rapidly.
Like the modern day lion, the European cave lion is believed to have communicated using the same methods as the rattle. In general, cats are very territorial and males will often mark their territory with urine.
European cave lions were incredibly dangerous when they were alive. Like lions today, European cave lions were fierce hunters. They were very aggressive in nature and had very strong teeth. The bone-crushing bite force of a European cave lion was equivalent to the weight of 816 kg, which is almost twice the strength of a lion today!
It is not clear why the European cave lion disappeared, according to the publication AZ Animals.
It is likely that the population of cave lions would have suffered due to the severe reduction of the species of animals they hunted. Also, as the climate warmed, the cave lion’s natural habitat of wide open spaces (grasslands) rapidly shrunk as the areas of deciduous forests increased.
The migration of Homo sapiens into Europe may also have played a role in the extinction of the species, as it would have competed with lions for prey.
There have been several recent discoveries involving European cave lions.
Autor foto – Vera Salnitskaya
In 2015, researchers in Siberia made a startling discovery of two frozen European cave lion cubs. The cubs were said to be up to 55,000 years old and were named Uyan and Dina. Then, in 2017, another cub was discovered in the same area in Siberia. It was determined that the chick was approximately 8 weeks old when it died and was perfectly preserved.
Later in 2018, a fourth cub was discovered in Siberian permafrost and said to be 30,000 years old. The chicken’s body was very well preserved, and the muscles and internal organs, including the brain, heart and lungs, were still intact.
One day, he might recover DNA fragments from the soft tissues of the cave lion cub and then to be cloned, so that the cave lion species can come back to life.
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