The Royal Menagerie of England was established at the Tower of London in the 13th Century and served as a home of exotic animals until it was closed on behalf of the Duke of Wellington in 1835. Two well-preserved lion skulls recovered from the moat of the Tower of London were recently radiocarbon-dated to AD 1280-1385 and AD 1420-1480, making them the earliest confi rmed lion remains in the British Isles since the extinction of the Pleistocene cave lion. Using ancient DNA techniques and cranio-morphometric analysis, we identify the source of these first English lions to lie in North Africa, where no natural lion population remains today.

, , , ,
Contributions to Zoology

Released under the CC-BY 4.0 ("Attribution") License

Naturalis journals & series

Barnett, R., Yamaguchi, N., Shapiro, B., & Sabin, R. (2008). Ancient DNA analysis indicates the first English lions originated from North Africa. Contributions to Zoology, 77(1), 7–16.