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Rare: A Lioness That Looks And Acts Like A Lion
That is her name. Mmamoriri. She was discovered back in 2012 in Africa. Although she was born a female, Mmamoriri has adopted the characteristics of a male lion. Her roar is very deep, she has grown a mane as long as a male and she seems to be running her own pride. Scientist label this phenomenon as "gender fluid". While rare, Mmamoriri is not the only lioness that has been acting like a boy. In fact, it's suspected these characteristics will be passed on from generation to generation.
Why Are Female Lions Adopting Male Traits?
The biggest question you may be asking yourself is why are female lions adopting male traits? Scientists state you can blame evolution and survival instincts. Male lions usually run or are the head of the pride. When a male lion passes, another alpha male lion is needed to protect the pride. The adaption of male characteristics by a lioness, prevents the need to find another alpha male for the pride. The gender fluid lioness, with her long mane and deep roar, can protect the pride herself, if the alpha male dies. A pride with gender fluid females may be more protected as well. The more males there are in a pride, the less likely other males or predators will attempt to attack a pride.
How Does Genetics Play A Role?
It is believed that genetics can play a role in helping a lioness adopt male traits. A cub being exposed to excess testosterone during gestation may cause the deeper roar and mane in female lions. In humans, if a mom has an excess amount of testosterone, her female child may be more masculinized than usual. This occurrence rarely happens in the animal kingdom. Although a rare occurrence, the fact that Mmamoriri's mane is very dark, it indicates she has an elevated level of testosterone.
Negative Consequences of A Lioness Adopting Male Traits
While a lioness acting like a boy has great benefits for her and her pride, there are negative consequences as well. Being that a lioness that looks like a male is a rare occurrence, sometimes it is much harder for her to be accepted into a pride. The prides can treat the lioness as an outcast, causing her to live alone. Another negative consequence is infertility. Having an increased amount of testosterone can cause the lioness to not be able to have her own cubs.
More About Mmamoriri
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