Lioness Mmamoriri Has Mane And Roars Like A Male
Scientists found some lionesses living in the Okavango Delta in Botswana grew manes and established deeper roars to frighten advancing rivals and other animals.
For the first time, the animals were filmed and featured in the three-part BBC2 series "World's Sneakiest Animals," which kicked off on Christmas Day.
Scientists believe genetic mutation, which led to hormone imbalance in lionesses, caused the phenomenon. This became a biological advantage to trick other animals into believing an area is protected by more males.
"This mutation could even be the start of a new devious lion strategy – evolution happening right before our eyes with one of the most iconic animals on the planet," said wildlife expert Chris Packham, who presents the BBC2 series documentary.
Packham added if these lionesses in disguise can use the biological advantage to increase their territorial areas, it would also increase their pride's chance for survival.
Mmamoriri is the first "disguised" lioness discovered in 2012. The research team believes she's just one of the area's five camouflaged queens of the jungle. Scientists said the twist in the species' evolution can ensure survival of future generations. They added that this biological advantage can be passed down to younger lionesses in case the area's alpha males die.
Other Sneaky Animals
The documentary series will also feature cuttlefish with camouflage abilities. This fish can change its skin's color and texture and disappear into its surrounding to escape advancing predators.
Amazingly, 3 million tiny organs cover the fish's skin and have the ability to change colors instantly. Dr. Roger Hanlon, a marine biologist, said the fish's skin just might be the most beautiful skin on Earth. Fish require elegant skin so they can create patterns and colors for camouflage.
Another sneaky animal in the spotlight is a baby bird capable of masquerading as a caterpillar to keep predators away. There's also a male deer without antlers, another biological advantage that enables them to push past velvet ropes while other male deer fight each other for access.
There's also a sneaky ground squirrel that rubs its body on shed rattlesnakes' skins to hide its original scent from its main predator. Above the trees, there's the burrowing owl that imitates a rattlesnake sound to scare its predators away.