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American Lion

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Panthera leo atrox
Panthera-Leo-atrox
Name Panthera leo atrox
Order Carnivora
family Felidae
Class Mammalia
Name Translation American Lion
Period Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene (1 million years ago-4,000 years ago)
Location North America, South America
Diet Carnivore
Length 11 feet (6 inches, 3.5 metres long), 5 feet (1.5 metres) tall
The American lion (Panthera leo atrox) — also known as the North American lion or American cave lion — is an extinct feline of the family Felidae, endemic to North America during the Pleistocene epoch (1.8 mya to 11,000 years ago), existing for approximately 1.79 million years. While it was once considered a subspecies of lion closely related to the Eurasian cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea), later study showed that it was not in fact a true lion and cannot be assigned to any modern species of cat. The American lion was one of the largest types of cat ever to have existed, slightly larger than the Early Middle Pleistocene primitive cave lion, P. Leo Fossilis and about twenty-five percent larger than the modern African lion.  
PantheraLeoAtrox1

restoration

Description

The American lion is an extinct animal which originated in North America and may have went on to colonize part of South America as part of the Great American Interchange (However, the fossil remains found in Peru likely correspond to large jaguars.) . The head-body length of the American lion is estimated to have been 2.6–3.5 m (8.530184-11.48294 ft) and it would have stood 1.524 metres (5 ft) at the shoulder. Thus it was smaller than its contemporary competitor for prey, the Giant short-faced bear , which was the largest carnivoran of North America at the time. In 2008, Sorkin estimated it to weigh roughly 420 kilograms (930 lb), but new estimations show a top weight of  352 kg (776.027lbs.) for the largest specimen.
800px-Panthera leo atrox Sergiodlarosa
Approximately one hundred specimens of American lions have been recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits, in Los Angeles, so their body structure is well known. The features and teeth of the extinct American lion strongly resemble modern lions (cave paintings show that in fact the american lion lacked a mane.), but they were considerably larger. Allthough like all other cave lions it was not a true lion.

However at least one authority considers the American lion (along with the cave lion), to be more closely related to the tiger; the braincase, in particular, appears to be especially similar to the braincase of a tiger.

However, mitochondrial DNA sequence data from remains of the American lion from Wyoming andAlberta show it is a sister lineage to the cave lion, and likely arose when an early cave lion population became isolated south of the North American continental ice sheet.

Distribution

This extinct lion was found in throughout North America as well as northern South America(However, the fossil remains found in Peru likely correspond to large jaguars.). He/she had 5 razor-sharp retractable claws and sharp teeth (larger than those of other extinct cats). The most well known fossils found were out of the Rancho La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, although some were also found in Alaska.

Popular Culture

The American lion appeared in Jurassic Fight Club called the Mega Lion and was killed by a short face bear.

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