If you have even been to the Tower of London you will know that it can be an overwhelming sight. But now imagine that, with lions!
For many years, the Royal family kept a kind of zoo – the Royal Menagerie – which held animals that had been gifted from influential friends and followers.
I have to be honest, I am personally glad that the Royal Menagerie no longer exists, because lets be honest, its no place for a lion. The sad thing is though, that because it is no longer, we can’t meet these old Barbary lions that are now extinct in the wild… not a live version anyway.
You can however, pop into the Natural History Museum in London and introduce yourself to the skull of a Royal lion.
The museum collection holds two skulls that were recovered from the grounds of the Tower of London during excavations in 1937.
Tough day at the office Barbary lion? Cos lets be honest, who hasnt wanted to bite the face off the person next to you while at work? Pic credit – Mirror UK/Rick Findler/Barcroft
The skulls have given scientists a cool insight into the lives of the lions in the Royal menagerie, including the fact that their diet was probably inadequate – visible by malformation of the foramen magnum.
Pic credit – Natural History Museum
The skull here, as you can see, is a veritable nerdgasm of craniophile goodness. It has a good set of (super sharp) canine teeth, some visible nasal concha, a massive infraorbital foramen below his eyes and two neat mental foramen on the lower jaw.
So if you are heading to the Natural History Museum, or anywhere close, head in and meet the lion! Say hi for us, Barbary Lion and I go way back (I’m an ex-queen you see).
As a side note, does anyone else love the word menagerie?