Toronto Diary
1 min

The androgynous lionesses of Botswana

Male lions get all the credit. Sure, most people think of lions as the be-maned kings of the jungle, but the truth is, those guys are lazy assholes. Lionesses, on the other hand, are the real badasses. They hunt, they care for the young . . . and the male lions just lie there doing fuck-all.

What I’m saying is that Simba can eat a burlap sack of dicks.

But what’s better than kickass lionesses? Androgynous lionesses — a rare mutation wherein female lions are born with male characteristics, including full-fledged manes. Via National Geographic:

Such masculine females likely occur when the embryo is disrupted, either at conception or while in the womb, he said by email.

“If the former case, the genetic contribution of the sperm—which determines the sex of the fetus in most mammals—was probably aberrant, giving rise to a female with some male characteristics.

“Alternatively and perhaps more likely, the problem may have occurred during gestation if the fetus was exposed to increased levels of androgens— male hormones such as testosterone.”

If a lion mother had abnormally high androgens during pregnancy, her female offspring may end up “masculinized”—a situation that occurs occasionally in people but which is rarely observed in wild animals. 

All right, Disney, the ball’s in your court: lionesses with manes are the new best thing ever. Now remake The Lion King with an androgynous lioness as the protagonist. You assholes made Home on the Range; you owe us here. 

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