How a Lion Roars

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Health Editor’s Note:  Yes, I am relieved that house cats do not roar. If they were able to roar, the sound would be deafening around here…..Carol

Secrets of a Lion’s Roar

by Sarah Zielinski/Smithsonian.com

Not all cats roar (which is probably a good thing for those of us who own housecats), but those that do fascinate us with their mysterious and frightening sounds. Research published this week in PLoS ONE gives us new insight into the inner workings of the roars of lions and tigers—the secret is in the cats’ vocal folds.

A group of biologists and speech scientists studied how lions and tigers roar by examining and testing tissue from the larynges of three lions and three tigers from the Henry Doorly Zoo in Omaha that had been euthanized because they were old and sick. The researchers were particularly interested in the vocal fold tissues, soft connective tissues made of collagen, elastin, a lubricant and fat.

Vocal folds are just another name for vocal cords, and they are a bit different in lions and tigers than in other species. In most species, the vocal folds are shaped like triangles where they protrude into the animal’s airway. But in lions and tigers, the protrusions are flat and shaped like a square, courtesy of the fat deep within the vocal fold ligament.

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Just also for VT editors and readers, but keeping in line with the big cat subject. The cheetahs, which were around this planet 5 million years ago are virtual clones, around the time of the upright walking apes that anthropologists call australopithecene (of Lucy fame) . One can easily research this for themselves, as I did. It means that you can take any organs/tissues of one cheetah and put it onto another one and that cheetah with the new organs/tissues will not experience rejection, nor it will need immuno-suppressant drugs. It will carry on living. Graham Hancock’s book “Magicians of the gods” claims that the cheetah were being in America first before reaching Africa. Anyway, cheetah have been known to be domesticated in Ancient Sumer and Egypt. With its overall almost to zero genetic variation, this had raised my eyebrows and could not help to find out that these and us-humans- where the product of genetic engineering. Cheetah are an hybrid specie of a feline and a dog. Again, this is ignored and what academia is telling us about both our low genetic variations is that this is due to “genetic bottleneck”- For humans it happened around 71k years and for cheetahs 13k years. This is a crackpot theory to contain the crumbling evolution theory which makes a lot of assumption but ignore the issues of interbreeding with few remnants in a species.