Zoo Lions Discover Their Mane Attraction

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Male lions in northern zoos have thicker manes than their fellow erstwhile kings of the jungle in warmer climes. As a result, they're more attractive to the females of the species.

SCOTT SIMON, host:

Chicago lions are apparently sensationally attractive, not just the ones in front of the Art Institute. A study in the Journal of Mammalogy compares the manes on 19 lions in 17 zoos across the United States, and confirms that thicker manes are more attractive to lionesses, but that mane thickness is a response to climate. Scientists previously thought the thickness of a lion's mane was determined by genetics. Instead, the lions in Chicago's cooler climes have manes that they wouldn't be ashamed to shake in front of Orlando Bloom. The lions in Dallas apparently have hairlines that are closer to Stanley Tucci's. But scientists said that the Dallas lions, with thin wispy scalps, are not shunned by lionesses, because they compete with other lions in the same climate zone. And if you can't love the lion you want, love the one you're with.

Or maybe lionesses just like those cute Dallas accents.

(Soundbite of song Love the One You're With)

SIMON: Coming up, the touching and touch friendship between two literary lionesses, Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellmann. Stay with us.

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