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|Classification||Panthera leo atrox|
|Average Height||Shoulder: 1.2 m (4 ft) tall|
|Average Weight||Male Average: 256 kg (564 lb) and 351 kg (774 lb)|
Max Weight: 420 kg (930 lb)
|Average Length||1.6–2.5 m (5 ft 3 in–8 ft 2 in)|
|Prey||American bison, camels, deer, horses, mammoths, tapirs|
|Subspecies||Eurasian Cave Lion|
|Leaders||Alpha male (presumed)|
|Status||Extinct (On Earth)
Least Concern (On Paradise)
The American lion (Panthera leo atrox) – also known as the North American lion, Naegele’s giant jaguar or American cave lion – is an extinct lion endemic to North America and northwestern South America during the Pleistocene epoch (0.34 million to 11,000 years ago), existing for about 0.33 million years. It is a sister lineage to the Eurasian cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea).
The American lion was one of the largest types of cat ever to have existed, slightly larger than the early Middle Pleistocene primitive cave lion, P. leo fossilis and about 25% larger than the modern African lion.
Panthera leo atrox means "cruel panther lion" or "fearsome panther lion" in Latin
The American lion originated in North America and is believed to have colonized northwestern South America as part of the Great American Interchange (though, the fossil remains found in Peru may actually correspond to large jaguars). The head-body length of the American lion is estimated to have been 1.6–2.5 m (5 ft 3 in–8 ft 2 in) and it would have stood 1.2 m (4 ft) at the shoulder, making it smaller than its contemporary competitor for prey, the giant short-faced bear, which was the largest carnivoran of North America at the time. The American lion was not as heavily built as the saber-toothed cat Smilodon populator, which may have weighed up to 400 kg (880 lb). Estimates for the American lion's weight is roughly 420 kg (930 lb), though an average weight for males is believed to be 256 kg (564 lb) and 351 kg (774 lb) for the largest specimen analyzed.But new studies say:American Lion's average is 590 kg.Largest up to 690 kg and 4.5 meter tall.
The features and teeth of the extinct American lion strongly resemble those of modern lions, but they were considerably larger. The American lion is believed to be the largest subspecies of lion.
The earliest lions known in the Americas south of Alaska are from the Sangamonian Stage (the last interglacial). After that, the American lion spread widely from Alberta to Maryland to Peru. In North America, it has been found in more locations in the west than in the east, and as far south as Chiapas, Mexico. It was generally not present in the same areas as the jaguar, as the latter favored forests, while American lions preferred open habitats. Like many other large mammals, it went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. The most recent fossil, from Edmonton, dates to 11,355 ± 55 years ago. By then, the American lion was one of the abundant Pleistocene megafauna, a wide variety of very large mammals that lived during the Pleistocene. The most abundant remains have come from the La Brea Tar Pits.
In some areas of its range, the American lion lived under cold climatic conditions. They probably used caves or fissures for shelter from the cold weather in a similar manner to black bears. They may have lined their dens with grass or leaves, as the Siberian tiger does, another great cat that currently lives in the north.
Fewer American lions are in the La Brea tar pits than other predators such as saber-toothed cats (Smilodon fatalis) or dire wolves (Canis dirus), which suggests they may have been smart enough to avoid the hazard. American lions likely preyed on North American deer, horses (now extinct), camels, and tapirs, and American bison, mammoths, and other large, herbivorous animals. This species disappeared about the same time as other megafaunal species during the Quaternary extinction event, which wiped out many of the species on which the American lion would have preyed. Lion bones have been found in the trash heaps of Paleolithic American Indians, suggesting human predation may have contributed to its extinction.