Despite being the subject of numerous skeletal studies, the habits and life history of the marsupial lion – one of the most unique meat-eating mammals to ever have lived – have remained largely unknown, leaving burning questions unanswered.
Flinders University researchers are the first to cast a new light on their behavior, uncovering two key aspects of the lions’ biology: they were excellent climbers and reared young in caves.
These assumptions can be made from the studys’ findings which indicated that marsupial lions were responsible for leaving thousands of claw marks on surfaces inside a limestone cave in south-western Australia.
According to lead author of the study, Mr. Sam Arman, the lion breed, “would have given birth to extremely underdeveloped young that could not be left alone until becoming at least partially weaned…the caves would have provided them with a safe, climate-controlled environment for raising young that was defensible against other carnivores such as thylacines and devils.”
The study also shows that claw marks were located on very steep surfaces up to three metres from the cave floor. This indicates that the lion breed were excellent climbers and Mr. Arman assumes they would have been able to easily climb trees.
The findings from this study enabled the research team to advance on previous research, inform future studies and ultimately make more educated assumptions about the extinct breed of lion.
Read more here: Flinders University.