by P. D.
Photo by Etrusia UK (Flickr)
Lion would almost always win against tigers. This was true in the Roman period. In fact, there was only one recorded case of a tiger defeating a lion in Rome and it was investigated by the Roman authorities.
This leads one to believe that the Lion was ALWAYS the victor in fights with tigers. If not, then why investigate.
Also, the behaviors of the two animals are so different it's like night and day. A lion is born fighting. It must fend for itself for little scraps of meat from a kill the adults have made. It risks it's life doing so. Then when they are old enough they are promptly kicked out of the pride and are on their own until they can challenge other dominant males for the right of the pride. Once won, the victorious lion must defend the pride against everything in Africa. This is clearly an animal with a warrior mentality. It must have otherwise it would not be able to survive.
Tigers are completely different on the other hand. Tiger cubs stay with their mothers between 4-5 years. They are very well taken care of as tigers are excellent mothers. When old enough, they then become solitary hunters. This is a huge difference. A tiger, being solitary, cannot afford a confrontation or it will risk being injured and possibly death. Tigers therefore will avoid direct conflict if it can do so.
Lions are another matter completely. They must defend the pride at all costs. They have been observed going in against all odds even when death is certain. A lone lion will fight other lions outnumbered 4 to 1. They have been observed taking on entire clans of hyenas single handed, sometimes being outnumbered by more than 20 to 1. There are accounts of lions taking on bull rhinos, cape buffaloes, and even elephants.
A lion who reaches 5 years of age may have already had 150 life and death encounters at a minimum. given these facts how can a tiger compete? The mentality and lifestyle of a true warrior versus that of a solitary stealth hunter.
This is no contest. A Lion will win 10 out of 10 times all things being equal.