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Lions of Delos (Originals) - History
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Lion, (Panthera leo), large, powerfully built cat (family Felidae) that is second in size only to the tiger. The proverbial “king of beasts,” the lion has been one of the best-known wild animals since earliest times. Lions are most active at night and live in a variety of habitats but prefer grassland, savanna, dense scrub, and open woodland. Historically, they ranged across much of Europe, Asia, and Africa, but now they are found mainly in parts of Africa south of the Sahara. An isolated population of about 650 Asiatic lions constitute a slightly smaller race that lives under strict protection in India’s Gir National Park and Wildlife Sanctuary.
How long do lions live?
In the wild, lions usually live no more than 8 to 10 years because of attacks by humans or other lions, or the effects of goring or kicks from intended prey. In captivity, they may live over 25 years.
Where do lions live?
Lions live in a variety of habitats but prefer grassland, savanna, dense scrub, and open woodland. Historically, they lived across much of Europe, Asia, and Africa, but now they are mainly found in parts of Africa south of the Sahara.
What is a pride of lions?
A pride is a group of lions that live together. The members of a pride spend days in several scattered groups that meet to hunt or share a meal. Each pride has its own territory that it defends, ranging from 20 square km (8 square miles) if food is abundant to 400 square km (around 150 square miles) if food is sparse.
What is the purpose of a lion’s mane?
Manes make male lions look larger than they really are, which may function to intimidate rivals and impress prospective mates. Manes vary from one lion to another and may be entirely absent.
What do lions eat?
Lions usually hunt and eat medium-sized to large hoofed animals like wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes. They occasionally also prey on larger animals, especially sick or injured ones, and eat found meat such as carrion.
Were bad teeth to blame for these man-eaters’ taste for humans?
Tucked within an arresting collection of taxidermied mammals of Africa in the Rice Gallery, the man-eating lions of Tsavo are two of the Field Museum’s most famous residents—and also the most infamous.
In March 1898, the British started building a railway bridge over the Tsavo (SAH-vo) River in Kenya. But the project took a deadly turn when, over the next nine months, two maneless male lions mysteriously developed a taste for humans and went on a killing spree.
The rise and fall of the Tsavo lions
Crews tried and failed to scare the lions away, forcing people to flee the area and halting construction on the bridge. Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson, the civil engineer at the helm of the railway project, took matters into his own hands so that work could continue on the railway.
The lions’ reign of terror ended when Colonel Patterson (no relation to our current MacArthur Curator of Mammals Bruce Patterson) shot and killed them in late 1898, and the railroad was completed a few months later.
He later told the story of the lions, and the hunt that eventually took them down, in his book The Man-Eaters of Tsavo and Other East African Adventures. Patterson reported that the lions’ feeding frenzy took the lives of 135 railway workers and native Africans. Later research by Field Museum scientists drastically reduced that estimate to 35 (which is still disconcerting!).
Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson with the first Tsavo man-eater.
The lions have intrigued Field Museum visitors, including this group of students from the 1950s, as long as they’ve been on display.
The lions’ journey to Chicago
Patterson turned the fearsome felines into trophy rugs from his hunt, and they remained harmless floor ornaments until 1925, when he sold them to the Field Museum during a trip through Chicago.
Museum staff restored the lions to their former glory—minus the appetite—by mounting them as taxidermy specimens and displaying them in a diorama.
In addition to Patterson’s written account, several movies are based on his tale of the man-eating lions, including The Ghost and the Darkness. The 1996 film contained some glaring inaccuracies, including casting lions with manes for the part, but the story captivated moviegoers and increased interest in these infamous lions.
A third man-eating lion from Mfuwe, Zambia, dined on six people in 1991. That specimen is also on display in the museum, on the ground level.
How we study the Tsavo lions
Using archival documents, Assistant Collections Manager Tom Gnoske and Adjunct Curator Julian Kerbis questioned whether the lions had eaten as many people as initially reported. In 2008, a team of scientists including the Field's Bruce Patterson helped discover just how many people they ate. The scientists examined the lions’ skeletons and pelts—specifically, their bone collagen and hair keratin levels—to get a more accurate picture of what the lions had been eating in the months leading up to their death. This research revealed that the lions ate closer to 35 humans—about 100 fewer than Colonel Patterson’s original estimate.
The bigger mystery, though, is why the Tsavo lions got an appetite for people. Was it food scarcity and desperation? A habitual dietary choice made after feasting on the remains of conveniently already-dead railway workers? Or was it the crippling aftereffects of dental injury?
Studying the lions’ teeth provides clues, and brings up more questions, about what led the Tsavo lions to kill humans.
Bruce Patterson and JP Brown
Several researchers—including Bruce Patterson and Larisa DeSantis of Vanderbilt University—have been just as captivated by these lions as the museumgoers who flock to the display. Using state-of-the-art technology to research the lions’ skulls, they found that the wear patterns on their teeth resembled those of zoo lions, which eat soft foods and do not crack bones. Previous X-ray imaging of the lions' remains found that they suffered from severe dental issues, including a root-tip abscess in one lion’s canine.
Researchers now believe the lions of Tsavo—as well as the Mfuwe lion also on display at the Field—switched to humans for practical reasons: they were easier to catch and chew.
Research continues today. After rediscovering the cave deemed the "Man-Eaters' Den" in 1997, Gnoske and Kerbis continue to explore the mysteries of the Tsavo lions, including studying hairs from various prey the lions ate.
After finding the cave referenced in Colonel Patterson’s book, a 1998 research project brought together Field Museum and Kenyan scientists. Together, they explored and excavated the area around the cave.
In November 2017, researchers used X-rays to examine which lion’s skull was matched with which skin during the taxidermy process. Don’t worry: preparators wore protective attire and stepped out of the display case while images were captured.
The importance of museum collections
The lions of Tsavo drive home the fascination and importance of museum collections. Bruce Patterson says:
"It’s astonishing that, [more than a hundred] years after their death, we can be talking about not only how many people they ate, but differences in the behavior of two animals, all from skins and skulls in a museum collection. When you think of the hundreds of thousands of specimens upstairs and all the stories they have to tell, … the value of museum collections is just astronomical."
Six Things History Will Remember Kenneth Kaunda For
News of Kenneth David Kaunda's passing, at age 97, has reverberated across the globe. Kaunda, affectionately known as KK, was Zambia's first President from 1964 to 1991.
Following Nelson Mandela's passing in December 2013, Kenneth Kaunda became Africa's last standing hero. Now with his passing on Thursday, June 17 — after being admitted to the Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka earlier in the week — this signals the end of Africa's liberation history chapter.
It is tempting to make saints out of the departed. The former Zambian struggle hero did many great things. He was, after all, one of the giants of the continent's struggle against colonialism. Ultimately however, he was a human being. And as with all humans, he lived a complicated and colourful life.
Here are six facts you might not have known about him.
A staunch HIV/AIDS activist
Following the death of his son in 1986 from HIV/AIDS related complications, Kaunda became a keen advocate for those battling the virus. In his later years, he is known for publicly taking HIV tests in order to reduce the stigma and fear around the disease.
A proponent of the one-party state
After Zambia's liberation in 1964, Kaunda declared that a multiparty system was a Western concept and announced that the country would be adopting a single-party system. He banned all other political parties from contesting in elections. He was widely condemned for what some called autocratic behaviour. Kaunda denied this despite holding on to power for 27 years.
A big advocate for a free South Africa
Kaunda is known as a staunch supporter of South African freedom fighters. Under his rule, Zambia was a safe haven for those engaged in the fight for liberation against the ruling Apartheid government. He did this by providing refuge, and money, to those freedom fighters who needed it. This he did despite the danger it posed to his people. "In 1986, Apartheid South African warplanes made forays into Kaunda's Zambia, briefly dominating the skies and killing refugees and guerillas housed in refugee camps," notes The Daily Maverick.
Kaunda was born the youngest of eight children to the Reverend David Kaunda. His father was an ordained missionary of the Church of Scotland and a teacher. His mother was one of the first African women teachers to teach in Zambia during colonial rule. He would later follow in his parents' footsteps, working as a teacher himself before entering politics.
A recipient of several foreign honours
The late former President was awarded several honours for his work against colonial imperialism. In 1975, he was recognised in Portugal when he received the Grand Cross of the Order of Prince Henry. In 2002, he was awarded the Supreme Companion of O. R. Tambo by the South African government for his work in promoting the interests of South Africa in solidarity and support. He received the Commander of the Most Courteous Order of Lesotho, the highest national order in the honours system in 2007.
A singer and songwriter
Kaunda enjoyed singing and writing music. He penned several songs, however his most popular and well-known is Tiyende Pamodzi. This is a song he would sing to garner support for the freedom of Southern Africa. According to The Times of Zambia, "On his lonely assignments to drum up support for independence, the lanky young man spotting a Zonk-haircut would ride long distances with a guitar slung across his shoulder. He would hold meetings and sing to his audience his own compositions." Times of Zambia | Kenneth Kaunda: Father of the Zambian song
After three futile attempts at establishing a professional football team in Detroit in the 1920s, the "new" game took a firm foothold in the city beginning in 1934, when Detroit radio executive George A. Richards purchased the Portsmouth, Ohio, Spartans for the then-astounding sum of $8,000 and moved the franchise to the Motor City.
The Spartans had joined the NFL in 1930 and, in 1932, played in one of history's most pivotal games, a hastily-scheduled championship game against the Chicago Bears that was played indoors at Chicago Stadium. From that game came three major rule changes and the separation of the league into two divisions and the establishment of an annual NFL title showdown.
Unlike previous Detroit pro football teams, the new Lions team was loaded with some of the finest players of the day and the team leader was Dutch Clark, a true triple-threat superstar and the last NFL dropkicker, who became a charter member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Playing in the University of Detroit Stadium before crowds of 12,000, the Lions won the NFL championship in their second year, 1935. Those early successes firmly established pro football in Detroit and for more than 60 years the sport has been an integral part of the Michigan sports scene.
The Lions also made their lasting mark by scheduling a Thanksgiving Day game in their first season in 1934 and, except for a six-year gap between 1939 and 1944, continuing the tradition until the present day. Both before and after 1934, other NFL teams have tried Turkey Day games, and except for the Dallas Cowboys, without significant success.
In the 1950s, the Lions enjoyed their finest years ever with four divisional titles and three league championships in 1952, 1953 and 1957. Stars of those glittering teams, whose annual showdowns against the archrival Cleveland Browns fascinated the pro football world, included such future Pro Football Hall of Famers as quarterback Bobby Layne, running back Doak Walker, tackle-guard Lou Creekmur and safety Jack Christiansen.
Since their last title in 1957, the Lions have been looking in vain for the top spot. While outstanding players such as Joe Schmidt, Yale Lary, Lem Barney and Dick "Night Train" Lane earned election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the best the Lions were able to accomplish as a team for the next 26 seasons were wild-card berths in 1970 and 1982. The Lions finally ended their long championship drought by winning the NFC Central Division championship in 1983. The Lions under Coach Wayne Fontes and paced by Hall of Fame running back Barry Sanders, the team's all-time rushing leader, also won divisional titles in 1991 and 1993. Detroit's first playoff victories since 1957 took the Lions all the way to the 1991 NFC championship game for the first time in franchise history.
The Lions moved from the University of Detroit Stadium to Briggs Field, home of the baseball Tigers, in 1938, where they stayed for 37 years. In 1975, the Lions moved into the Pontiac Silverdome where they played for 37 years. Then in 2002, the team moved back to downtown Detroit and into a new domed stadium, Ford Field.
Did the Cowardly Lion give the greatest campaign speech of all time? Quite possibly.
Many writers have suggested that L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is an allegory for late 19th-century American Populism. (For a deep dive into that allegory and its criticisms, check out Peter Liebhold's recent post.) In a world where Dorothy's silver slippers on the yellow-brick road represent the debate between the gold and silver standards, and the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman are American farmers and factory workers, the Cowardly Lion is a single man—William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential nominee, three-time loser, and the most spellbinding speaker of his day.
Known for his speaking skill from the age of 12, Bryan delivered an oration at the 1896 Democratic National Convention that author Michael A. Cohen has called "the single most influential and electrifying campaign speech in American political history." Although Bryan had hoped to be his party's standard-bearer that year, his chances were slim until he delivered the final speech of the convention's platform debate. Newspapers across the country described it as "magnetic," "hypnotic," "remarkable," and "inspiring." His rousing conclusion about the silver standard and the common people brought the "shrieking" audience to its feet and gave the speech its name:
Rarely can a single speech, especially a campaign speech, be said to have produced a specific result but "Cross of Gold" unquestionably made Bryan, only 36 years old, the youngest major party nominee in American history.
So why was William Jennings Bryan the Cowardly Lion? Well, for starters, "Bryan" rhymes with "lion." More significantly, Bryan was physically imposing and his oratory powerful. In many ways he personified the Cowardly Lion's self-description: "I learned that if I roared very loudly every living thing was frightened and got out of my way." Why Bryan was "cowardly" is less obvious. By the time The Wonderful Wizard of Oz was published in 1900, Bryan was accused of downplaying free silver and focusing on his anti-imperialist opposition to the Spanish-American War, two actions seen by some as cowardly. Of course, the Cowardly Lion had never really been cowardly at all. Throughout their journeys he fought bravely to protect his friends, even postponing his own plans because Dorothy needed protection. Similarly, Bryan courageously stuck to positions he believed were in the best interest of his loyal supporters even though this approach led to his repetitive defeats.
Bryan's 1896 campaign was groundbreaking for more than his oratorical skill. One of the first candidates to appear widely on his own behalf, he was the original whistle-stop campaigner. Bryan traveled 18,000 miles by train to give over 600 speeches (36 in one day) to about five million people. In addition, because of improvements in technology, especially the invention of celluloid, thousands of new items were produced promoting Bryan and his Republican opponent William McKinley.
Finally, one can argue that Bryan's famous speech was a rhetorical role model for future young candidates who, with a single speech, overcame potentially career-ending attacks. In 1952, 39-year-old Richard Nixon, who would later be compared to the charlatan Wizard of Oz, used his "Checkers" speech to defend his campaign finances and save his job as Eisenhower's running mate. At the age of 43, John F. Kennedy put the "Catholic question" to rest with his 1960 address to the Houston Ministerial Association.
William Jennings Bryan may have been, in the words of historian Michael Kazin, "the first celebrity politician," but Nixon and Kennedy succeeded where he failed. (Even the Cowardly Lion eventually became King of the Beasts.) Although he holds the record for winning the most Electoral College votes without ever winning an election, Bryan unintentionally fulfilled the wish his political opponent Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld made after hearing the "Cross of Gold"—"I had rather be able to make a speech like that than be president of the United States."
Down in the mouth
Previous findings, first presented to the American Society of Mammalogists in 2000, according to New Scientist, documented that one of the Tsavo lions was missing three lower incisors, and had a broken canine and a sizable abscess in the tissues surrounding another tooth's root. The second lion also had damage in its mouth, with a fractured upper tooth showing exposed pulp. [The 10 Deadliest Animals on Earth]
For the first lion in particular, pressure on the abscess would have caused unbearable pain, providing more than enough motivation for the animal to skip large, powerful prey and go after punier people, Patterson said. In fact, chemical analysis conducted in another, earlier study, published in 2009 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that the lion with the abscess consumed more human prey than its partner. Moreover, after the first lion was shot and killed in 1898 &mdash more than two weeks before the second lion was gunned down &mdash the attacks on people ceased, Patterson noted.
Nearly 120 years after the man-eaters' lives abruptly ended, fascination with their gruesome habits persists. But had it not been for their preserved remains &mdash which John Patterson sold to FMNH as trophy rugs in 1924 &mdash today's explanations for their habits would be no more than speculation, Bruce Patterson told Live Science.
"There would be no way to resolve these questions if it weren't for specimens," he said. "After almost 120 years, we can tell not only what these lions were eating, but we can resolve differences between these lions by interrogating their skins and skulls.
"There's a lot of science you can build on that, all derived from specimens," Patterson added. "I have 230,000 other specimens in the museum collection, and they all have stories to tell."
The findings were published online today (April 19) in the journal Scientific Reports.
A Brief History Of Pier 39, Home To San Francisco's Sea Lions
If you have ever visited San Francisco, you’ve probably heard of Pier 39. Pier 39 is the most popular tourist destination in the city, consisting of a shopping center, an entertainment complex, a selection of restaurants and gorgeous views of the water that surrounds San Francisco. Read on to get to know the history of this attraction.
Pier 39 first began development in August 1977, thanks to the entrepreneur Warren Simmons. Construction was completed throughout 1978, and the pier officially opened on October 4th of that year. At its opening, the pier’s attractions included 50 stores, 23 restaurants, a diving pool and street performers. A few of the initial restaurants are still active today, including Pier Market Seafood Restaurant, Eagle Café and Swiss Louis Italian & Seafood Restaurant.
Over the years, more attractions were gradually added. In 1979 the Blue & Gold Fleet began hosting Bay Cruises. Four years later, the diving pool was removed to make room for a Venetian Carousel, which would be replaced in 2008 with the two-story handmade Italian carousel that remains standing today. In 1996, the aquarium Underwater World was opened, which would go on to become the Aquarium of the Bay. By 2002, the Riptide Arcade was added with over 100 games, which would later become Players Sports Grill & Arcade. Later, Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze was opened in 2009, followed by the Musical Stairs in 2013 and 7D Experience in 2014. Restaurants were added over the years, as well, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. in 1996, Crab House in 1998, Hard Rock Café in 2002 and, most prominently, Forbes Island in 1999, which remains the only man-made floating island restaurant in the world today.
One of the most recognizable features of Pier 39 is the sea lions it attracts. The sea lions first began arriving at the docks around the pier in January 1990, drawing both local and international attention. The sea lion population began to grow over the years, reaching peak numbers in November 2009 when the population was counted to be 1,701. As a result, the city added six new floats to the docks to make room for more sea lions. A few years later, the Sea Lion Center opened at Pier 39, offering visitors a variety of resources to help them learn about California sea lions.
Throughout the past few decades, Pier 39 has received a lot of recognition for its popularity. In 1989, USA Today named it the third most visited attraction in the country. In 2011, The San Francisco Travel Association ranked the pier the most visited attraction in the city after its 2010 Visitor Profile Study. Most recently, the SFTA’s 2014 Visitor Profile Study again concluded that Pier 39 was the most visited attraction in San Francisco.
Lions of Delos (Originals) - History
Leonardo Da Vinci’s “mechanical lion” was the star attraction at a pageant in honor of the newly crowned King of France, Francois I.
According to G. P. Lomazzo, the Lion was presented to the King by Giuliano de’ Medici in Lyon, on July 12th, 1515. Made with a “wonderful artifice,” the Lion was set in motion:
“. it moved from its place in the hall and when it came to a halt its breast opened, and was full of lilies and flowers.”
This incredible exhibition symbolized the close relationship between the Medici, and the new King. The Lion is the symbol of Florence, and lilies are the fleurs-de-lis of France. The bond between the two was also linked through marriage as Giuliano’s wife, Philiberte of Savoy, was an aunt to the new King.
The “Lion” wasn’t Da Vinci’s first attempt at automata. His biographer, Charles Nicholl notes that Leonardo had previously produced drawings for various other automata, including a “mechanical Knight,” which:
. was capable of bending its legs, moving its arms and hands, and turning its head. Its mouth opened, and an automatic drum-roll within its mechanism enabled it to ‘talk’.
These mechanical drawings were exhibited in Milan, around 1495. NASA scientist, Mark Rosheim, constructed a working model of the “mechanical Knight” and claimed that Da Vinci’s “programmed carriage for automata” were:
“. the first known example in the story of civilization of the programmable computer.”
Da Vinci’s original “mechanical lion” has been long lost, but in 2009, it was reconstructed at the Château du Clos Lucé and Parc, in France. The Château was where Da Vinci spent his last three years of life, dying there in 1519.
Man-Eaters of Tsavo
They are perhaps the world’s most notorious wild lions. Their ancestors were vilified more than 100 years ago as the man-eaters of Tsavo, a vast swath of Kenya savanna around the Tsavo River.
From This Story
Video: Reporting From the Serengeti
Bruce Patterson has spent the past decade studying lions in the Tsavo region, and for several nights I went into the bush with him and a team of volunteers, hoping to glimpse one of the beasts.
We headed out in a truck along narrow red dirt trails through thick scrub. A spotlight threw a slender beam through the darkness. Kudus, huge antelopes with curved horns, skittered away. A herd of elephants passed, their massive bodies silhouetted in the dark.
One evening just after midnight, we came upon three lions resting by a water hole. Patterson identified them as a 4-year-old male he has named Dickens and two unnamed females. The three lions rose and Dickens led the two females into the scrub.
On such forays Patterson has come to better understand the Tsavo lions. Their prides, with up to 10 females and just 1 male, are smaller than Serengeti lion prides, which have up to 20 females and 2 or more males. In Tsavo, male lions do not share power with other males.
Tsavo males look different as well. The most vigorous Serengeti males sport large dark manes, while in Tsavo they have short, thin manes or none at all. “It’s all about water,” Patterson says. Tsavo is hotter and drier than the Serengeti, and a male with a heavy mane “would squander his daily water allowance simply panting under a bush, with none to spare for patrolling his territory, hunting or finding mates.”
But it’s the lions’ reputation for preying on people that attracts attention. “For centuries Arab slave caravans passed through Tsavo on the way to Mombasa,” said Samuel Kasiki, deputy director of Biodiversity Research and Monitoring with the Kenya Wildlife Service. “The death rate was high it was a bad area for sleeping sickness from the tsetse fly and the bodies of slaves who died or were dying were left where they dropped. So the lions may have gotten their taste for human flesh by eating the corpses.”
In 1898, two lions terrorized crews constructing a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River, killing—according to some estimates people. “Hundreds of men fell victims to these savage creatures, whose very jaws were steeped in blood,” wrote a worker on the railway, a project of the British colonial government. “Bones, flesh, skin and blood, they devoured all, and left not a trace behind them.”
Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson shot the lions (a 1996 movie, The Ghost and the Darkness, dramatized the story) and sold their bodies for $5,000 to the Field Museum in Chicago, where, stuffed, they greet visitors to this day.
Bruce Patterson (no relation to John), a zoologist with the museum, continues to study those animals. Chemical tests of hair samples recently confirmed that the lions had eaten human flesh in the months before they were killed. Patterson and his colleagues estimate that one lion ate 10 people, and the other about 24—far fewer than the legendary 135 victims, but still horrifying.
When I arrived in Nairobi, word reached the capital that a lion had just killed a woman at Tsavo. A cattle herder had been devoured weeks earlier. “That’s not unusual at Tsavo,” Kasiki said.
Still, today’s Tsavo lions are not innately more bloodthirsty than other lions, Patterson says they attack people for the same reason their forebears did a century ago: “our encroachment into what was once the territory of lions.” Injured lions are especially dangerous. One of the original man-eaters had severe dental disease that would have made him a poor hunter, Patterson found. Such lions may learn to attack people rather than game, he says, “because we are slower, weaker and more defenseless.”
Paul Raffaele’s book Among the Great Apes will be published in February.