The European Cave Lion was the largest cat that ever lived

european_cave_lion.jpgThe scientific name for this cat is Panthera Leo Spelaea but it is more commonly known as the European Cave Lion, European Lion or the Cave Lion.

The European Cave Lion first appeared in Europe around 500 000 to 700 000 years ago. Paintings of this cat have been found in many European caves depicting the animal hunting together in teams similar to current modern day lions.

It is believed that the European Cave Lion became extinct around ten thousand years ago but some scientist believe that the cat resided in the Balkan region as recently as two thousand years ago. It's natural habitat was across Europe, Siberia to the North West Persian regions.cave_lion_drawings.jpg

The European Cave Lion probably preyed on animals like horses, bisons and other large herbivores.

What makes this cat absolutely incredible was its size. With a length of 3.5 meters and an approximate full grown male weight of around 800 lbs, the European Cave Lion was a dominating species of Lion. That's about 70 times larger than your average domestic cat! According to some experts, the European Cave Lion resembled hybrid cats like the present day Liger in size and genetic background. Many believe the cat was a mix between a Tiger and Lion.

There are a number of factors that probably contributed to the European Lion becoming extinct:

- Some believe the cat was hunted by humans.

- The extinction of their prey.

- The large influx of humans that may have destroyed or significantly reduced their hunting territory.

european-cave-lion-prey.jpgBased upon European cave paintings, it's believed that the European Cave Lion had a faint striped coat. It is also believed that they had a "ruff" similar to today's male lion mane along with large ears and a tufted tail.

The remains of a Cave Lion were found in 1985 near Siegsdorf in Germany. The specimen was a smaller male Cave Lion at seven feet long without the tail and about four feet tall at the shoulder.

With so many current day big cats facing extinction, let's hope they don't become extinct like the European Cave Lion.

Top image provided by Hochst's photostream on flickr, check out his great images here.

Other posts I think you might be into:

12 cats that will be extinct by 2020

What happens when you breed a Tiger and a Lion together? You get a Liger!

See a 400 lbs African Lion hug and kiss his rescuer!

Woman gets tackled by a lion at a Photoshoot!


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Melissa said:

I read that the american cave lion was bigger, or identical in size.

Javed Karim said:

Hi Melanie, your blog is full of useful information.
After going through it i've gained a lot of knowledge about European cave Lions.
I am highly thankful to you
and i believe that people like you are blessed from above that's why you can provide all this useful and rare information for free.
Miss Walters God bless you.

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