What is the lion’s mane for?

The lion’s mane comes in a variety of sizes and density of color. It increase in length and thickness as a lion becomes older. It becomes darker. The mane serves two distinct purposes.

Appearance

The first reason for the mane is that it makes an adult lion look impressive. It serves as a “conspicuous visual signal”. It can be seen from a long way off in open territory.

When a lion is strutting with his tail up and his mane flowing in the wind he presents an intimidating figure even from some way off. As the mane’s colouring and characteristics vary so much it is likely that lions recognise individuals by their manes.

Protection

Another function of the mane is to protect the head and neck region during fights. Schaller said:

“The dense mass of hair absorbs blows and harmlessly tangles claws in a part of the body toward which most social contact is directed; bites too may leave an opponent with a mouthful of hair rather than skin.”

These then are the functions of the mane as decided on by biologists.




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