QUOTE (ShadowsAndDust @ Aug 19 2008, 10:41 AM)
Hmm, perhaps their consumption of human meat on such a large scale altered their body to be different than that of a normal lion? Maybe as a side effect of eating human meat they lost their manes as well as growing to a huge size.
I wonder, if they had lived on to breed, would we be seeing a new 'super' lion as it were?
Actually, a male lion without a mane can "naturally" occur in the wild--and like someone said earlier--Tsavo lions were known to occasionally not have them. I think, by that reasoning, we can say that being maneless is a genetic trait that can be passed from lion to lion, and that may be the reason why Tsavo lions don't have them. But! I think your explaination for why these lions were much larger could work. They did have a very different diet compared to other lions, and over time (nine months is plenty of time) having acquired a taste for human flesh could alter their size. I imagine that a human is a tad bit healthier than a sick little zebra, any day, rofl.
I think that, yes, if they had bred we might have gotten a strange combination--and a lot of them. If the brothers were to actually have separated to form prides, that might have gotten dangerous. They would have had to hunt MUCH more, and their lionesses too would have acquired a taste for easy humans to feed their cubs.
I wonder why that didn't happen though? Why did the males stay together instead of breeding?
QUOTE (The Wolf @ Aug 19 2008, 10:49 AM)
I love this story! And The Ghost and the Darkness was a badass movie (this topic makes me wish I had the DVD, an error in my collection that just might be corrected very soon!)
Personally, like said before, I think that the lions (definitely brothers) happened upon a corpse or 2 of the workers who died on the build site, and got a taste for human flesh via the bodies. And since the workers were so plentiful in that particular spot, they had no reason to search anywhere else for their usual prey, and became man eaters.
This is the 1st time I heard that they were maneless, which could always be contributed to a small evolutionary step that made some of the males maneless (it was already said before that maneless male lions is VERY rare) due to the hot temperature in Tsavo.
Very cool topic! style_emoticons/default/thumbsup.gif Even though it's not technically a cryptid, I think this does fit into this forum very well if only for the fact that something like this just doesn't usually happen.
Ack! That makes me want to see the movie taht much more. style_emoticons/default/sad.gif Never seen it, drat.
That's good reasoning, and I think it works out grand. Why look anywhere else when you basically have a healthy meal set in front of you? Someone (was it you...? I can't keep track of posts) said that the lions were said to have tooth problems--which I've heard before--and that may have made them that much more interested in human flesh. But yes, maneless males are quite rare, but if it is a genetic deformitity that can be bred into litters, then it is an upperhand.
Oh! Wait, sudden thought, maybe, it was because these two males were lacking manes that they didn't breed? Manes are used for attracting mates, I saw in a study conducted on the thickness and color of lion manes, and maybe it was because these two didn't have them that they were required to stay together as a pair, hunt together, and didn't start prides of their own? Or am I totally going out on a massive limb here? style_emoticons/default/laugh.gif
(And I appologize for typos/misspellings, I'm in IE and it SUCKS for not having an automatic spell checker.)
I've done plenty of study on this particular case, I've read Colonel Patterson's book several times, as well as writings by other's who have had experience with man eating cats.
These lions really weren't that unusual. The lack of manes was far more likely due to the territory of Tsavo, which is choked with huge, thick thorns. When the killings first started, the workers set up fences called bomas, using these thorn bushes woven together tightly. These lions however would always push their way through despite the vicious thorns. I gurantee you that if they had manes before, they lost them after the first few shoves through the boma fences.
Their size was definitely above average, but this doesn't surprise me. Most African animals are very lean without much fat. Humans on the other hand just naturally have more marbled meat. Having eaten around one hundred humans together, without the same level of danger accompanied by attacking say, cape buffalo, they wouldn't have expended as much energy. So yeah, they would have gotten very big from such a diet.
Two males aren't particularly strange either. Granted, they want to operate in prides, but I've heard of lions operating in all kinds of groups. Individuals, pairs, trios, quartets, mixed with males and females, kind of like people when they leave the family.
I have to shoot down the demon idea though. You see, whenever man eaters begin operating, tribal people invariably think they are evil spirits, demons, devils, or some such taking the form of a lion. Considering most of the workers were either imported Indian coolies or local African tribals, the idea of the lions being evil spiritual entities would have sprouted up over night. If you read around on primitive cultures when dealing with hostile wildlife like these, you'll find that a lot.
The behaviors towards becoming man eaters have already been mentioned, finding bodies and acquiring a taste for human flesh, extreme hunger although there was lots of game in the area, etcetera, so I won't go too much into what's already been mentioned.
I know this is going to shock some people, but the Tsavo Man Eaters don't have the biggest body count among large cats. Unless anyone wants to hear me chatter about the Panar leopard, Champowat tigress, I'll just stick to man eating lions.
The main reason the Tsavo lions are so popular and well known is that they effectively stopped the Tsavo railway in its tracks, greatly rankling the British Empire. The fact that there was far more communication along those lines definitely helped.
But man eating lions aren't rare. They aren't even particularly unusual. I've heard of all kinds of lions even in modern day taking a person here or there out in the bush, most never mentioned because of the remoteness of where they take place, or even just disappearances that people just work past. If a lion is hungry enough, it'll take a person, even if there is lots of game around. Game rangers and professional hunters even today are called in all the time to take care of lions that are munching on locals. Heck, even game rangers get eaten now and then.
The worst case of man eating lions I've ever heard of were the Njombe man eaters. These boys operated in the 1950's, an entire pride, and ate several THOUSAND people. While its impossible to know the exact number, I've got a good idea it was around 17. Now I know what you're thinking, how could these rack up such a huge body count and not be heard of?
Well, that's because absolutely none of the victimized people were talking about it. There was a political thing taking place at the time, a particular man being a witch doctor, telling everyone that unless he was put back into his political position, "his" lions would keep eating people. Everyone thought that if they so much as mentioned the animals, they would come back and kill in revenge. So most people weren't talking that much. It wasn't until George Rushby was sent in to take care of things that anything got done. These lions operated for years, taking several people from a village and then move onto the next one, never striking the same place twice in a row, and by the time anyone got to the last place they hit to do something about it, the Njombe lions were somewhere else.
Its a major pity there isn't more literature on this particular incident. I only found out about it by digging through an out of print book titled "Maneaters" by Peter Hathoway Capstick. If you can get a copy, grab it!