Study of fossil bone and tooth anatomy yields much exact information about placement and strength of muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, and blood vessels. In rare cases, skin and hair impressions or actual skin or hair is preserved. Body weight is more difficult to gauge because fat leaves no impression on the skeleton. A few extinct Pleistocene lions were painted by observant paleolithic artists.
|Weight*||large male up to 235 kg (518 lb)||large female up to 175 kg (386 lb)|
|Length||1.6 - 2.5 m (5.3 - 8.2 ft)|
|Tail Length||0.5 - 0.8 m (1.7 - 2.7 ft)|
*estimated to be 25% larger than modern lions
Sources: Anderson (1984), Shaw (2005)
Artist's representation of an extinct American lion.
Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.
Kurtén and Anderson (1980)
Meachen-Samuels and Binder (2009)