English language news articles from year 2007 plus find out everything about Asiatic Lion and Gir Forest. Latest News, Useful Articles, Links, Photos, Video Clips and Gujarati News of Gir Wildlife Sanctuary (Geer / Gir Forest - Home of Critically Endangered Species Asiatic Lion; Gir Lion; Panthera Leo Persica ; Indian Lion (Local Name 'SAVAJ' / 'SINH' / 'VANRAJ') located in South-Western Gujarat, State of INDIA), Big Cats, Wildlife, Conservation and Environment.
Genetic analysis aids in not only painting a picture
of the past, but preserving the future. Recent study unveils the history
of modern lions using DNA garnered from natural history museums.
For a quick review on scientific classification please see Species vs Subspecies
DNA analysis helps clarify and separate the different subspecies of the lion. A study published on BMS Evolutionary Biology reveals the ancestry of Panthera leo
the lone surviving lion species. "Understanding the demographic
history of a population is critical to conservation and to our broader
understanding of evolutionary processes" according to the journal
article itself. As big cats, lions have been hunted extensively
throughout written history, and even recently certain populations have
declined such as the the West African Lion subspecies (Panthera leo senegalensis).
DNA clarification helps to separate lions based on their genes. This
helps to protect the gene pool of this magnificent mammal, allowing
ecologists to better protect the specie's diversity.
Another hindrance to the study of the modern lion's family tree is the
absence of a fossil record. "Estimates of demographic history are
increasingly reliant on genetic data, particularly in many tropical
regions where the mammalian fossil record is constrained by poor
preservation of bone" (Barnett et al.)
The tropical environment itself is not conducive to preservation,
leaving an incomplete fossil record. Researches looked toward modern
techniques to analyze mitochondrial DNA from specimens of known origin
held in museums. Bone and tissue samples were taken from extinct
subspecies such as the Barbary lion (Panthera leo leo) and Iranian lion (P. l. persica) as well as modern African and Asiatic Lions.
Revealing the maternal demographic history of Panthera leo using ancient DNA and a spatially explicit genealogical analysis takes an analytical view at the lions genealogy. While there are 8 recognized subspecies of the modern lion, genetics of each clade
remains unclear. Looking at extinct subspecies such as the Barbary Lion
and Iranian Lion help us to not only better understand the current lion
populations, but also to better appreciate and protect specific
sub-populations, allowing for educated conservation of this vulnerable
The study makes clear arguments for recognition of specific regional
populations to be worthy of independent conservation. Dr. Barnett states
in an interview with BBC:
"I was most surprised by the incredibly close relationship between the
extinct Barbary lion from North Africa and the extant Asian lion from
While it is too late to save the Barbary lion, perhaps the largest of
the lion subspecies, there is still time to protect the Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica),
a lion subspecies that exists as a single isolated population within
Gir Forest National Park, India. Protecting endangered subspecies like
the Asiatic lion helps insure the preservation of the species as a
whole, insuring the King of the Jungle can rule for generations to come.