This skin is also remarkable for the beautiful manner in which it displays the whorling of the hairs from the point on the shoulder; the mane is sparing, but the long hairs of which it is composed commence immediately from the whorl and radiate in all directions.
Part II. p. 146.
It is to Mr. Owen that I am indebted for the knowledge of this important distinctive character between the crania of the two largest of the Carnivorous Mammalia; and he has kindly allowed me to add the following remarks from his pen “On the Differences observable in the Skulls of the Lion and Tiger.“On comparing together the crania of seven Lions with those of thirteen Tigers, the first character of the Lion's skull assigned by Cuvier (the straightness of the outline from the midspace of the postorbital processes to the end of the nasal bones in one direction, and to the occiput in the oppositc,) is to a certain extent appreciable; the occipital and interparietal crest forms a concave line in the Tiger, and is generally straight in the Lion: but the difference is so slight on comparing the skull of a large male Tiger where the crest is strongly developed, that it would be an unsatisfactory ground of distinction if unsupported by any other character. “The flattening of the interorbital space in the Lion, and its convexity in the Tiger, especially in the transverse direction, occasioned by the down-sloping of the supraorbital ridges, is a more constant and appreciable character, and I think would serve alone to distinguish two crania of similar dimensions of the Lion and Tiger. “But there is in the extent and contour of the nasal processes of the maxillary bones, a difference which is constant and well marked. “In eight Lion's skulls, of which five were accurately certified to be Lion, and the remaining three I no longer doubt to be such from their accordance with the other five in this and other distinctive characters, I find that the nasal processes of the maxillary bones extend to the same transverse line which is attained by the coronal or superior ends of the nasal bones, never falling short of this line, and in six out of the eight passing beyond it; the terminal contour of the nasal processes of the maxillary bones being, moreover, rounded, but more or less tending to a point. “The nasal processes of the maxillary bones in the Tiger never extend nearer the transverse plane attained by the nasal bones than one third of an inch, and sometimes fall short two thirds of an inch; terminating broadly in a straight or angular outline, just as if the rounded ends, which we see in the Lion, had been cut off. “This character is so obvious and constant, and the comparison with reference to it is so easily made, that I regard it as the most unfailing and valuable means of distinguishing the skulls of these giants of the Carnivora, the Lion and the Tiger, that has been discovered. My attention was first called to it by a scientific visiter of the Hunterian Collection some months back, whose name I regret that I have been unable to learn, and I am not aware that it has been given to the public in any form. “There are some minor differences observable in the skulls of the Lion and Tiger, which may also be noticed. “The infraorbital foramina are proportionally larger, chiefly in their transverse diameter, in the Lion. “In the crania of two Lions, the only ones known to be Asiatic in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons, it is remarkable that this foramen is double: in one, which was killed in North Guzerat, this occurs on both sides; in the other, which was killed near Assund, it is found on the left side only. “Two skulls may be selected out of the twenty crania, one of a Lion and the other of a Tiger, in which the nasal aperture is nearly of the same dimensions; but is, however, perceptibly narrower at the lower part in the Tiger. All the other skulls of the Lion deviate from the one selected in the enlargement or squaring of the nasal aperture; all the other skulls of the Tiger equally deviate from the one selected in the opposite direction, the nasal aperture growing narrower below, or more triangular. On comparing, therefore, the whole together, the nasal aperture is seen to be obviously narrower in proportion to its length, and smaller in relation to the size of the whole cranium, in the Tiger than in the Lion. This, however, can only be regarded as an accessory character, to be noticed after ascertaining the more important ones above mentioned. “The coronal extremities of the nasal bones of the Tiger are sunk deeper in a longitudinal depression than in the Lion; and in most of the Tiger's crania this depression is bounded above by a small but distinct semilunar ridge, which has its concavity directed forwards. This ridge does not appear in the Lion's crania.–R. O.
“This beast was called by the country people oontia-baug, or camel-tiger, and is by them estcemed to be the fiercest and most powerful of that race. His colour was that of a camel, verging to yellow, but without spots or stripes; not high in stature, but powerfully massive, with a head and fore parts of admirable size and strength. He was killed near the village of Coora, on the banks of the Sabermatty, fifteen coss from Cambay. “Nearly five quarts of oil were extracted from this animal, which the peasants of that country consider to be very efficacious in rheumatic complaints; and it is used externally in those and some other disorders. The oil of the lion was extracted by stewing the flesh, when cut up, with a quantity of spices: the meat was white, and of a delicate appearance, and was eaten by the wangrees, or hunters, who extracted the oil.–Sir Charles Malet, in Forbes, Oriental Memoirs, vol. iii. pp. 94, 95. Gesner (de Quadr., Ed. 2. Francof. 1620. p. 590,) enumerates at great length the virtues ascribed to the fat of the Lion in various disorders by Greck, Roman, Arabic, and more modern European writers.
“Le Lion qui habite la partie de l'Arabic et de la Perse, voisine du fleuve des Arabes, depuis le golfe Persique jusqu'aux environs de Hellé et de Bagdad, est probablement l'espèce de Lion dont Aristote et Pline ont parlé, et qu'ils regardoient comme une espèce différente, sous plusieurs rapports, de celle qui est répandue dans l'intérieur de l'Afrique. Le Lion de l'Airabie n'a ni le courage, ni la taille, ni même la beauté de l'autre. Lorsqu'il veut saisir sa proie, il a plutôt recours à la ruse qu‘à la force: il se tapit parmi les roseaux qui bordent le Tigre et l'Euphrate, et s’élance sur tous les animaux faibles qui viennent s'y désaltérer, mais il n'ose attaquer le sanglier, qui est ici fort commun, et fuit dès qu'il apperçoit un homme, unc femme, un enfant. S'il attrape un mouton, il s‘échappe avec sa proie; mais il l'abandonne, pour se sauver, lorsqu'un Arabe court après lui. S'il est chassé par quelques cavaliers, ce qui lui arrive assez souvent, il ne se défend point, à moins qu'il ne soit blessé, et qu'il n'y ait pour lui aucun espoir de salut par la fuite. Dans ce cas, il est capable de s’élancer sur l'homme et de le mettre en pièces avec ses griffes; car c'est encore plus le courage que la force qui lui manque. Achmed, pacha de Bagdad depuis 1724 jusqu'en 1747, en eut été déchiré après avoir rompu sa lance dans une partie de chasse, si son esclave Suleiman, qui lui succéda au pachalik, ne fût venu promptement à son secours, et n'eùt percé d'un coup de yatagan le lion déjà blessé par son maître. “Nous avons vu dans la ménagerie du pacha de Bagdad cinq individus de cette race; lis y etaient depuis cinq ans, et avaient été pris jeunes aux environs de Bassora; il y avit trois mâles et deux femelles; les premiers étaient un peu plus gros que les autres, et tous ressemblaient beaucoup à l'espèce d'Afrique, si ce n'est qu'ils étaient plus petits, et n'avaient point de crinière. On nous assura qu'ils n'en auraicnt jamais, et qu'aucun lion de ces contrécs n'en obtenait. Nous avons souvent regretté de n'en avoir pas demandé deux au pacha, un mâle et une femelle, pour les comparer de près à l'espèce d'Afrique, et nous assurer si le lion d'Arabie doit être régardé comme une espèce distincte de l'autre, ou comme une race dégénérée.–Olivier, Voyage dans l'Empire Othoman, l'Egypte et la Perse, tom. iv. pp. 391–3.
Vol. ii. p. 428.
Arist. Hist. Anim., Ed. Scal. Tolos. 1619, p. 1154.
Oppian., Ed. Schneid., pp. 234 & 365. –Ed. Belin., pp. 108 & 318, 319.
Agatharch. Hist., Oxon. 1597, p. 41.
Hist. Nat., lib. 8. cap. 16.