The content you've requested is available without charge only to active Sigma Xi members and American Scientist subscribers.
If you are an active member or an individual subscriber, please log in now in order to access this article.
If you are not a member or individual subscriber, you can:
Although Charles Darwin believed that the male lion's mane existed
to blunt the attacks of other lions, its actual purpose long
remained a mystery. However, 30 years of lion observations and some
elegant new experiments have now created a comprehensive picture of
its function. As explained by Peyton West, whose research in East
Africa finally solved the puzzle of the mane's significance, lion
manes are sexually selected traits that proclaim a male's fighting
ability and nutritional status. Both opponents and mates take
advantage of this information to assess a lion's overall fitness,
but the long, black mane that females desire and males respect has a
serious drawback in the form of heat stress. This consequence is
severe enough that lions in the hottest climates have little or no
mane at all, raising the possibility that increased global
temperatures may cause lions with dark, luxurious manes to be things
of the past.
Connect With Us:
An early peek at each new issue, with descriptions of feature articles, columns, and more. Every other issue contains links to everything in the latest issue's table of contents.News of book reviews published in American Scientist and around the web, as well as other noteworthy happenings in the world of science books.
To sign up for automatic emails of the American Scientist Update and Scientists' Nightstand issues, create an online profile, then sign up in the My AmSci area.
JSTOR, the online academic archive, contains complete back issues of American Scientist from 1913 (known then as the Sigma Xi Quarterly) through 2005.
The table of contents for each issue is freely available to all users; those with institutional access can read each complete issue.
View the full collection here.
Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.