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    LIONS IN EUROPE.—It is known that lions inhabited Europe in historical times; the fact is mentioned by both Herodotus and Aristotle. Herodotus (480 B.C.) even determines the area in Macedonia inhabited by lions, and recounts that during the march of Xerxes through Macedonia, lions attacked and destroyed the Persian carrying camels. Aristotle (384-322) speaks of the same area, but mentions that lions are rare there. There are no later indications of their occurrence. Some investigators (O. Keller) do notattribute much value to this ancient information, supposing the group of lions to have been brought by Persians during their previous campaigns, which had lingered for more than a hundred years in the wild mountains of Macedonia, whilst the majority holds that the Macedonian lions were the last of lions, spread throughout Europe during the Pleistocene age, which later, under the oppression of man and deteriorating conditions of life, trekked south. Whatever may have happened, the existence of lions in Europe in historical times is not affirmed by any palseonto-logical discoveries, and in this sense the discovery to which we are referring is unique. V. Gromova, in Priroda No. 10, mentions that among the rich palseon-tological materials collected by the Russian Academy of History of Material Culture between the years of 1901-1927, in the district of the rich ancient Greek city Olvia in S.W. Russia, a piece of the upper jaw of a lion, together with the upper canine tooth, was found. The tooth differs greatly from the canine tooth of a tiger by its shape, and from that of the other members of the cat family by its large size. However, as there was only one such discovery, its explanation should be approached with great care. It is quite probable that the lion was brought from Asia Minor, where the existence of lions, even up to the Mediterranean, in ancient times, is confirmed by a series of literary notes and discoveries of bones. It is well known (O. Keller,“Die Antike Tierwelt,” pp. 29-31) that people of distinction and their wives kept lions as domestic pets, which accompanied them during walks, campaigns, etc. Above all, lions played a prominent part in the circus fights. It is quite probable that such is the origin of the Olvian lion; moreover, the solitary tooth is of the small size, such as is found in lions kept in zoological gardens only, and probably denotes a sign of degeneration. Thus the palaeo-zoographical value of the discovery remains doubtful.

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    Research Items. Nature 123, 27–29 (1929). https://doi.org/10.1038/123027a0

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