Why do lions have a mane?

From Issue: Discovery 12/1/2017

Dear Digger Doug,
Why do lions have a mane?

Evie Miller—Montgomery, AL

Dear Evie,

I have always loved how beautiful and majestic male lions look with their furry manes. God made lions on day six of Creation and designed some of the males with the ability to grow manes. I say, “some,” because you might find it interesting to know that not all male lions have big manes. Most of the ones you see in pictures do, but there is a group of lions in Tsavo, Kenya where the male lions do not have manes. So what is a lion’s mane good for? We don’t know exactly, but in some studies, it seems that female lions are more attracted to male lions with dark manes. And other male lions are less likely to try to fight a lion with a long mane. So, it looks like a male lion with a long, dark mane gets to stay out of fights more often, and is more attractive to females than lions with shorter, lighter manes. The most important thing is to keep the mane thing the mane thing (Sorry, just a little bit of lion humor. I’m roaring with laughter, taking pride in my jokes).


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