There Are No Actual ‘Lion Kings’ | Animal IQ

From PBS Terra.

Sorry to ruin your childhood, but lion society doesn’t have a king. What can we learn about this big cat’s intelligence?

Like this episode of #AnimalIQ? We ain’t LION when we say: you should subscribe to Terra 🐋 https://bit.ly/3mOfd77 (Trace takes full responsibility for these terrible jokes)

Some might think of the lion as all brawn and no brains, but they’re so much more. Dr. Natalia Borrego studies lions in her professional life, designing experiments to test their intelligence and better understand their skills. Lions are social animals living in small pride groups containing both males and females (a rarity in the animal kingdom). They understand problem-solving, can cooperate with each other and have no permanent dominance hierarchy. You know what they say, an egalitarian pride is a happy pride! The question is, are lions more like chill hippies or relaxed puzzle masters? Natalia called Brian Dowling from Lion Country Safari to talk about everything Panthera Leo!

On Animal IQ we dig into the research and talk to the experts to find out just how smart animals appear to be. We then use that knowledge to fill in our AIQ Rubric across five domains of intelligence: Social, Rational, Awareness, Ecological, and our own intelligence X-Factor. Every animal is clever, but their talents vary based on their evolution, biology, values, adaptations and environment. We hope y’all learn how each of our animals tick on Animal IQ!

This program is produced in collaboration with PBS Nature! Follow them across the internet:
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/naturePBS
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PBSNature
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pbsnature/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PBSNature
Website: https://www.pbs.org/wnet/nature/

Support was also provided by PBS Digital Studios! Follow them and learn more every day:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbsds
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pbsds/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PBSDigitalStudios

You can also seek out our experts and hosts here:
:: Brian Dowling, Lion Country Safari ::
Website: https://www.lioncountrysafari.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/lioncountry
Instagram: http://instagram.com/lioncountrysafari
Facebook: http://facebook.com/lioncountrysafari
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClMKjwBuelfLF8M13fORFQg
:: Dr Natalia Borrego ::
Instagram: https://instagram.com/untamedbiologist
Lion Lab website: https://lioncenter.umn.edu/natalia-borrego/
:: Trace Dominguez ::
Twitter: https://twitter.com/tracedominguez
Instagram: https://instagram.com/tracedominguez
YouTube: https://youtube.com/tracedominguez

📚 READ MORE

Roaring and numerical assessment in contests between groups of female lions
Lions seem to have the ability to perform at least rudimentary numerical assessments. Groups of female lions may proclaim ownership of their territory by roaring. While females are territorial, they may avoid direct encounters or fights when they are likely to lose – i.e. when challenged by another group that is larger.
https://doi.org/10.1006/anbe.1994.1052

Lions Like Optical Illusions
Fun fact that didn’t make the episode: Lions seem to like optical illusions. In a small study on visual enrichment in captive lions, two out of three lionesses spent more time looking at and interacting with a motion illusion!
https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02220

Lions are the Brainiest of the Big Cats
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lions-are-the-brainiest-of-the-big-cats/
They can solve puzzles that solitary leopards and tigers can’t—evidence that sociality promotes high-level cognition

For this episode, we relied heavily on Natalia and Brian’s knowledge of lion behaviors and cognition, but if you want to learn more general knowledge, try these links:
https://www.smithsonianjourneys.org/blog/little-known-facts-about-lions-180950775/
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/mammals/facts/african-lion