Wednesday, 28 November 2012

New species of lion discovered - In Ethiopian zoo?


DNA confirms genetically distinct lion population for Ethiopia
November 2012. A team of international researchers has provided the first comprehensive DNA evidence that the Addis Ababa lion in Ethiopia is genetically unique and is urging immediate conservation action to preserve this vulnerable lion population.

Large and darker manes
While it has long been noted that some lions in Ethiopia have a large, dark mane, extending from the head, neck and chest to the belly, as well as being smaller and more compact than other lions, it was not known until now if these lions represent a genetically distinct population.

Genetically distinct from all lion populations
The team of researchers, led by the University of York, UK, and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany, has shown that captive lions at the Addis Ababa Zoo in Ethiopia are, in fact, genetically distinct from all lion populations for which comparative data exists, both in Africa and Asia.

The researchers compared DNA samples from 15 Addis Ababa Zoo lions (eight males and seven females) to lion breeds in the wild. The results of the study, which also involved researchers from Leipzig Zoo and the Universities of Durham and Oxford, UK, are published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research.

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