The Types of Lions: Every Lion Species & Lower Classification

In the article below we’ll dig into this scientific debate, review both extinct and current lion species, and review their lower classifications. Let’s dig in!


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The Great Lion Taxonomy Debate

One was the African lion (Panthera leo leo) and the other was the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica). The difference between the two was simple enough to describe, African lions lived in Africa while Asiatic lions live in Asia.

Types of Lions Alive Today

There are now two types of lions recognized today. The two subspecies are: – Panthera leo leo: Includes lion populations in Asia and northern Africa countries. – Panthera leo melanochaita: which lives across southern Africa.

Past Types of Lions That are No Longer Recognized

Cape Lion: The cape lion lived in the plains of South Africa and was believed to be a unique subspecies with a darker main than other types of lions.  Barbary Lion: Barbary lions lived in North Africa and were long considered a subspecies of lion.

Lion Species: Extinct and Alive Today

Recently extinct lion species included: Cave lion (Panthera spelaea): The cave lion hunted from Europe across to Alaska on the Eurasian steppe. American lion (Panthera atrox): The American lion lived across modern day Mexico and the United States.

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