Study shows two man-eating lions consumed 35 people in 1898

Published on November 4th, 2009 | by Admin


Scientists have determined that the two lions which terrorized railway workers in Africa in 1898 killed 35 people, not 135 as rumoured.

Scientists hoping to figure out the actual number of people eaten decided to study the remains of the two male lions, now on display at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, testing the types of carbon and nitrogen in their teeth and hair.

Those chemical ratios were compared with the carbon and nitrogen found in modern lions in the region, in lions’ normal prey animals and in humans.

Bones and teeth store carbon and nitrogen isotopes over long periods, while the ratios in hair change more rapidly, allowing the scientists to determine the long-term diet and how it changed in the lions’ last months.

Humans made up at least half of the diet of one of the lions in the last months of his life, consuming at least 24 people, they concluded. The other lion had eaten 11 people, they found.

In other words, even a century later, you are what you eat.

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