American Lion Facts
Roaming the landscape of North America thousands of years ago was a lion that was much larger, stronger, and faster than the modern day African lion; the extinct American Lion was one of the largest cats the earth has ever seen. On this page of Extinct Prehistoric Animal Facts you will find interesting information about this amazing predator that should be
of interest to kids and adults alike.
Basic American Lion Facts
- The American Lion (Felis Atrox) is a relative of the modern day African Lion.
- This ancient predator is sometimes called the North American Lion or the American Cave Lion.
- Its habitat ranged from as far north as Alaska to as perhaps as far south as Peru in South America. Based on where its fossil remains have been found it seems to have preferred the open plains as opposed to forest or mountainous regions.
- The American Lion became extinct approximately 13,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age when many large mammals became extinct.
- Numerous bones of this mammal have been recovered in California's La Brea Tar Pits. However fewer bones of this predator have been found in the tar pits than any other prehistoric predator. This may indicate that it was smarter than these other predators and was able to largely avoid the danger of this area.
- It is likely this ancient predator had a wide range of prey; and was certainly large enough to take down huge animals. Its food most likely included young mammoths, horses,
bison, camels, and deer.
- Many factors likely led to the decline and eventual extinction of the American Lion. Perhaps the main factor was the mass extinction of numerous large mammals at the end of the
last ice age that was due to a drastic change in climate; the American Lion depended on these animals for their food.
- The appearance of ancient man who competed for food sources may have also been a contributing factor in this species extinction. There is also archaeological evidence that the
early humans in North America may have hunted this lion; its bones have been found in garbage heaps of these ancient people.
American Lion Characteristics Facts
- This huge predator was 4 feet (1.2 meters) tall at the shoulder and 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) measured from the tip of its nose to the end of its tail.
- Males of this species are believed to have had an average weight of 564 pounds (256 kilograms) but there have been specimens found that would have weighed an amazing 774 pounds (351 kilograms).
- It had longer and more powerful legs than the modern day African Lion.
- These lion's sharp canine teeth were four inches (10 centimeters) long.
- It is believed that unlike African male lions the male lions of this species had no mane.
- Scientists believe the bite force exerted by this animal was about double that of today's lions.
- The American Lion was not as big as the famous saber-toothed cat Smilodon populator, which lived at the same time, but was much faster and probably much smarter (based on its