First, the Tsavo lions were not 'aberrant'. Lions and other big cats have repeatedly turned to man-eating in the face of certain conditions, many of which are manmade. Furthermore, man-eating by lions continues today.
"For most of their history, extinct and living humans, have represented little more than a vulnerable, slow moving, bipedal source of protein for big cats," says Julian Kerbis Peterhans, associate professor of Natural Science at Roosevelt University, Field Museum adjunct curator and co-author of a study on man-eating by lions recently published in the Journal of East African Natural History (http://www.naturekenya.org/JournalEANH.htm).
Legend has it that in 1898, two Tsavo lions killed at least 135 workers constructing a bridge in Kenya, temporarily stopping the construction of a railroad linking Lake Victoria with the port of Mombasa. Lt. Col. John Patterson eventually killed the lions, which are now on exhibit at The Field Museum, Chicago.
Thomas Gnoske, co-author of the study, Field Museum assistant collection manager and chief preparator in Birds, points to newly found evidence that challenges the traditional telling of the infamous event. He cites inconsistencies between authentic records and popular treatments, especially regarding the numbers of people allegedly killed by the man-eaters. In fact, three different, ever-escalating, figures, ranging from 14 to 135, were documented by Patterson, himself, during the course of his career. Gnoske believes that Patterson's original published (1907) fig
Contact: Greg Borzo