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October 13 2012

DNA confirms Ethiopian lions are genetically distinct group


A pride of captive lions descended from the private menagerie of Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia is genetically distinct from all other lions of Africa, a study has found.

The Ethiopian lion has a distinctive dark mane and is slightly smaller and more compact than other African lions. Now an analysis of its DNA has revealed the Ethiopian lion is also a distinct breed.

It is thought that there may be less than a few hundred Ethiopian lions living in the wild and scientists are urging that their unique genetic makeup should be preserved by a captive-breeding programme.

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