African Lion Skull, Male BC-054
14" L x 9 ½" W x 6 ½" H 34.8L x 23.5W x 16.1H (cm)
The African lion is both the most sexually dimorphic (with physical differences) of the big cats and the largest of African carnivores. Adult lions can be over 8 feet long and weigh between 250 and 500 pounds. The exact function of the distinctive bushy mane of the male is unknown but it may signal the male's health and vigor to prospective mates and also offer some protection during fights with other males. The lion is the only feline with a tufted tail. They also have a small spine on the very tip of their tail, formed by fused terminal caudal vertebrae. Lions are the most social of all the cats and appear to enjoy physical contact when resting or relaxing, which they do for approximately 20 hours of every day. In stark contrast, they are highly antagonistic to each other when feeding and there is a distinct hierarchy when it comes to dinnertime privileges. Male lions associated with a pride seldom hunt, instead providing protection and security. Females do the "lion's share" of securing prey but the larger males always eat first. Cubs are the last to eat and competition can be so fierce that mortality approaches 80% for lions under two years old. Wild lions may live 10-15 years. 2-part skull (separate cranium & jaw).