Many people don’t know that male and female lions look and behave quite differently from each other.
You see, while male lions have big manes and roar a lot, female lions don’t have a mane, they’re not so vocal, but they do the majority of the hunting.
However, lionesses start to act more like “one of the guys” once in a while.
Researchers observed five lionesses at the Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana, and they started exhibiting male behaviors, like marking their territory, mounting other females, roaring, and even growing long manes.
Scientists say that these changes are likely due to an increased level of testosterone.
Katherine Alexander at Virginia Teach explained that while some of the maned lionesses were observed mating, none of them became pregnant, suggesting they’re infertile, a known consequence of high levels of androgens such as testosterone in females.
She explains that the behavioral changes suggest that this is likely the case.
This is not the only time a lioness has undergone this change, however, the phenomenon is most common in Botswana’s Okavenago Delta, where maned lionesses have become a regularity, and it’s most likely due to a genetic predisposition.
The tests have revealed that this happens due to high levels of testosterone taken because of an issue with their ovaries.