Lions in the Tower identified (UK)

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The subspecies of lions kept in the Royal Menagerie are now extinct in the wild, according to new research on skulls found at the Tower of London. Research by scientists from the Natural History Museum and the University of Oxford found the big cats kept since medieval times were Barbary lions. The remains were found in the moat in the 1930s and then stored at the London museum; one dates from between 1280 and 1385. Richard Sabin, curator at the Natural History Museum, stated: ‘We’ve not known until now the exact geographical origin of the animals found in London. Direct animal trade between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa was not developed until the 18th century so our results provide new insights into the patterns of historic animal-trafficking.’ The results were published in the journal Contributions in Zoology.

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