Genderfluid female lion has a mane, acts and roars like a male

Bethan McKernan@mck_beth
Thursday 24 December 2015 12:30
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Meet Mmamoriri, the lion doing her bit to smash gender stereotypes in the animal kingdom.

The female lion has adopted male characteristics in order to increase her chances of survival, such as growing a mane and a deeper roar to scare off potential invading prides.

Darker fur usually indicates high levels of testosterone, researcher Robynne Kotzee writes in Africa Geographic, which is why Mmamoriri's black mane is even more striking.

Dr Simon Dures studied Mmamoriri's pride as part of his work with the Zoological Society of London and Imperial College London. Testing on blood samples revealed that she doesn't possess an extra Y chromosome, which was one theory for her ambiguous characteristics.

She's not that unusual either: at least five female lions with manes have been spotted in the isolated lion population of the Okavango Delta in recent years.

Mmamoriri, first discovered in 2012, is thought to be infertile - but scientists think that any gender-bending members of the pride will be able to pass their unique characteristics down to their offspring.

Mmamoriri is starring in Chris Packham's documentary 'The World’s Sneakiest Animals’, which is on Christmas Day on BBC2.

According to the programme, the same development has been seen in other species, including deer.

H/T Pink News

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