Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Lion
LION, in zoölogy, Felis leo (formerly elevated into a distinct genus with a single species, Leo nobilis) , one of the largest and the most important of the living carnivora. Its range in historical time is very wide. The Hebrew Scriptures abound with references to it, and in the time of Darius lions were employed to execute judicial sentences (Dan. vi: 16-24). It is mentioned by Homer; Herodotus and Theocritus mention lions as found in Africa, and in Europe; by Vergil, by Ovid, by Martial in almost every book, and by Catullus. It played an important part in the sanguinary games of the Roman amphitheater. Its geographical range is now confined to Africa and the S. W. of Asia, extending E. as far as Gujerat. It varies somewhat in size; but for an adult African male, from snout to tip of tail, 10 feet, tail 3 feet, height at shoulder, 3 feet 6 inches, are average measurements. The Gujerat variety is somewhat smaller. “In color lions vary from a deep chestnut-brown to gray. The color of the mane varies equally. In the Nubian lion it is generally pale iulvous, and in Cape lions black, but all intermediate shades are found both in Nubia and the Cape country.” Professor Dawkins enumerated among the Mid Pleistocene, and again among Late Pleistocene mammalia of Great Britain Felis leo. A Felis spelæa was once recognized; it is now deemed not specifically distinct from the common lion. In the Early Pleistocene, Professor Dawkins has the saber-toothed lion, sometimes called the saber-toothed tiger.