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Marooned on an Island, a Pride of Lions Evolved into Superlions.

A group of lions were marooned in a small island fifteen years ago when the course of the river changed. Instead of perishing, they've learned to swim and became strong (as well as large and smart) enough to hunt the only prey available: the giant buffalo.

Thus, the island has become a unique, ecological experiment. In order to exist without the customary spectrum of weaker African prey like zebra, giraffe and impala, the Duba lions have had to develop distinct strategies in order to trap the single available food source.

They have adapted to this challenge by hunting during the day under the baking African sun, swimming through deep rivers in the hunt for buffalo. This water-based training programme combined with a diet of protein-rich buffalo meat has led to the development of huge muscles, and these super-cats now dwarf other lions.

The island lions also use highly advanced psychology in their quest for food, predicting the course of the buffaloes' daily trek by anticipating their need for water — then lying in wait at the precise spot along the river where the herd will eventually stop for refreshment.

In turn, the buffalo have responded to the threat by merging into a vast mega-herd of 1,200 beasts — five times the size of a normal group. They have also, at times, turned on the lions, killing isolated cubs.


Nice article, though I think that the title should be changed, since it gives the wrong impression. Evolution takes many thousands of years, not 15. What's happened here is that one single generation have adapted to their new surroundings, in a similar way to any other animal.

Interesting article, thanks.
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Buffalos fall under continental lions claws too, but not as many and not as fast ^^.

And we should better use "adapt" because creationists may also force me to delete this post ^g^.
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The word "evolution" is thrown around way too often and way too casually. I'd say most of the time when "evolution" is used in print it is really referring to adaptation or natural selection, which is completely different. Don't be part of the problem, be part of the solution.
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I am a creationist and I am not opposed to the title. It is incorrect as this adaptation has not resulted in a genetic change. BUT, it is still a very cool story.

Maybe one day a giant cat will attack Tokyo and then a giant lizard could defend the city.... maybe
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Their large size is naturally selected for. This is definitive biological change.

"The changes in populations that are considered evolutionary are those that are inheritable via the genetic material from one generation to the next."

Two big cats which were naturally selected for have big kittens (its not that simple, but its all that is needed for the unschooled responding here). Therefore evolution works fine in this context.
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Nope, not enough. But see that we're in mean bigger than our parents were when young and that's not because of the evolution but ambience causes, we eat better and grow faster.

Those lions. As far as I can tell their descendants will learn their tactics and grow bigger. These are not bigger because of inheritance but the ambience: more food and less competitors ('til now).

These have not evolved but for sure they will constitute a subspecies soon as Darwin stated.

Our time alive is so short to watch the entire proc. but we've got enough info through the history about evolution, natural and human selection, it's as sure as there's stars and mountains, Carl Sagan explains much better than I do:

btw evolution and selection can be proved in a lab with flies and bacteria which can grow a new generation fast enough to watch them have new genetics.
Abusive comment hidden. (Show it anyway.) offense, Yayo, but they're still flies and bacteria. A slightly different fly or bacterium than the previous generation, but still the same kind of animal. None of them have yet to turn into some other creature.

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Who wrote this nonsense? Maybe it's because I know Africa is a continent rather than a country, but this sounds like the usual overblown crap to me. Let's see...

Lions marooned on an island by river diversion. These animals must be rather slow, especially as all lions are already strong swimmers (although they don't enjoy swimming as tigers do). Exactly where is this place anyway? (googles Duba:) OK, the island is 200 sq km in a swampy area of Botswana, and the lions are in fact able to come and go at will. Far from being marooned, they are favouring an advantageous environment for living and breeding. As for the 'highly advanced psychology' and laying in wait at watering holes, a thousand documentaries have shown lions doing this in the past. Hmmm, 'giant buffalo'. No such animal. I wonder where this description came from, neatorama? It seems that what we have here is generations of lions grown well-fed on buffalo meat (surprisingly protein-rich compared to other animals!), and probably catching said buffalo by the well-tried system of lion cooperation.

Where is the link from? The Daily Mail, a UK paper notorious for exaggeration and talking crap...

Come back Africanized bees!
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Oladiti, that's exactly what I say. They are good swimmers but they feed fairly well where they are so they won't swim away ^^

Denita, they are not different creatures. Darwin stated that we are subspecies by our own, we've got differences among the rest of individuals. Those lions and decendants will share same chars as they breed so they will constitute new subspecies. They are not different creatures, in order to achieve that they must spend thousands of years isolated from the mainland species limb. See that a chuhuaua could pair with a doberman, they seem different animals but they are just dogs with common antecessors, they've been selected by mankind to be the way we see them now. It's almost unbeliable that a chihuahua could come from some kind of big wolf! ^g^
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evolution can actually occur very quickly (within a generation), ever heard of the galapagos finches? read up on a book called "The Beak of the Finch." I'm a biology major and many people are completely uninformed when it comes to the concept of evolution and how it works.
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Brian Frost-Dec 12th, 2006 at 10:56 am-
"I am a creationist"
"In 1858, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace independently proposed a theory of biological evolution to explain the diversity of life on Earth. Since then the fossil record and DNA studies have added, and continue to add, overwhelming support for this view of life's history. Evolution today is one of the best documented and widely accepted principles of modern science. Life on Earth has changed dramatically through time. The theory of evolution proposes that through the process of natural selection and other natural events stretching over millions of generations, living things diversify, branching from one species into many. This means that all living things are related to one another through common ancestry with earlier, different life forms. In other words, if you follow your family tree far enough back in time, you will find a common ancestor not only with every other living thing, but with every thing that ever lived."

There is no god. Get over it. EVOLVE. Please. Stop being stupid.
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