New Maned Lion Report From Virginia

Posted by: Loren Coleman on November 16th, 2008

Besides the Mystery Cats known as “Black Panthers,” the other major North American felid cryptids seen are “African Lions,” as per Chapter 13 of Mysterious America.

Not seen as frequently as their melanistic companions, nevertheless, some reports do come in. And the more dots we have, the more often a pattern develops. Such is the case for a new account just sent to me.

Observed on November 10, 2008, a medical clinic employee on her way to work reported that she saw “an African lion, mane and all, chasing cows in a field near her house in Bluefield, Virginia.”

She reported it was “enormous, with gigantic paws.”

She phoned the police and was so upset by what she’d seen she even phoned several local schools to warn them.

Reportedly, many Mystery Cats reports have surfaced in the Bluefield area in the last year, according to correspondent E. F.

The location of Bluefield, Virginia, is intriguing. It is on the northern border of Virginia, right next to West Virginia. Bluefield proclaims itself as “Virginia’s Tallest Town,” being “nestled in the heights of the Appalachian mountains.”

As the crow flies, it is less than 75 miles south of Trout, West Virginia, the center for some “maned cat” sightings from 2007.

The accounts were published a year ago of an “African lion” being reported from nearby West Virginia. Here at Cryptomundo, I discussed the sightings in which, for example, bow hunter Jim Shortridge saw a full-grown, male African lion weighing between 250 and 300 pounds at the foot of Cold Knob Mountain in October 2007. Other info on the West Virginia maned cat reports are here and here.

What new Virginia sightings will occur before December? Or will this Mystery Cat disappear into the hills?

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

29 Responses to “New Maned Lion Report From Virginia”

  1. cryptothekid responds:

    I agree with Mark A. Hall on this, that these maned lions and black panthers are Panthera atrox that have survived to this day.

  2. Bob K. responds:

    Next to the mystery of Bigfoot, this is my favorite Cryptoriddle. A : Is the great American Lion, in fact, NOT extinct? Or, B : have a number of captive African lions escaped, establishing a small breeding colony in the forests of North America?

    And here’s another possibility – could ‘A’ and ‘B’ both be correct, with the result that individuals from both groups have interbred?

    While the ‘black panther’ mystery is intriguing, I find it to be more puzzling. It would seem that, if it does indeed exist, that this is probably a native North American species, seen and reported fairly often, and consistently as to its size and appearance, and unless I’m mistaken on this point [feel free to correct me if I am], sighted a good deal more frequently than the ‘African lion’. It seems that a specimen of one of these black cats should have been obtained by now.

  3. Bob K. responds:

    Loren, I now see you had already written the following: “Not seen as frequently as their melanistic companions, nevertheless, some reports do come in.”

  4. gkingdano responds:

    PEOPLE can’t you understand that these cats are just “pets” that some tough guy had until he could not feed it or it escaped from the pens made for dogs, NOT LIONS. Again NO one should be aloud to have these animals in a personal pet situation. When they escape , or released, these “tough guys” don’t tell anyone, because they will be seen as wimps for letting their “pet” escape. The MAN needs to track down the “owners” and throw them in jail for criminal negligence with a deadly weapon!!

  5. kittenz responds:

    Since I mentioned the lion that lived in Jenkins, KY, I should also mention that private ownership of big cats is illegal in Kentucky now, except for cats already here which were grandfathered in under laws passed in 2005. That law also prohibits breeding of big cats and mandates inspection of facilities where existing cats are housed by conservation officers.

  6. kittenz responds:

    I don’t believe that Panthera atrox was a subspecies of Panthera leo, nor do I believe that they survived the end of the Pleistocene – at least, I doubt they survived until historic times. For one thing, there aren’t any known fossils of them dating from the intervening time period; for another, there aren’t any Native American tribes with a maned lion totem of any kind. Not one. Now, fossils of most cats are rare, but fossils of lions are fairly common, but I’ll allow that most fossils and other remains, of all animals, have not yet been found and maybe never will be. But surely such an animal as a lion would have had a cultural impact on the native people – in every other area where maned lions are known to have existed, they have been (and still are) revered. That’s the main reason that I think that no maned lions have lived in North America within historic times.

    I do, however, find it entirely plausible that this eyewitness saw an actual male lion chasing livestock. Virginia prevents ownership of big cats as “pets”, but does allow (with permits) the keeping of exotic wildlife for some purposes. The owner must be USDA licensed (as a Class B broker or C Exhibitor) or have “scientific or educational purposes”, or be an AZA-accredited zoo. A private menagerie is not considered to be an educational institution. But Bluefield, VA, is right across the river from Bluefield, WV, and West Virginia does not have any state regulation against keeping big cats.

    I live in that triangle of Kentucky that’s bordered on the northeast by West Virginia, and on the southeast by Virginia, and I know of several people who keep or have kept big cats as pets. There was a guy in Jenkins, KY (on the VA border), a few years ago, who kept a pet lion in a big cage that could be seen from the highway. I don’t know if he still has it; if he does, he must have moved its enclosure because it’s no longer there. Rumor has it that he had other cats and bred them from time to time, but I don’t know how true the rumor is.

    The area around Bluefield is a high plateau, bounded by big mountains and with thousands of acres of rolling farmland and woods. Both game and livestock are abundant. Lions could survive there. It gets really cold during the winters, but lions are very adaptable to weather as long as they have food and shelter. A lion or lions could be living wild there, or someone may have dumped a “pet” in that largely rural location.

    On the other hand, the person may have seen a big shaggy dog and thought it was a lion. That does happen sometimes. I’d rather believe the lion, though, unless it’s proven to be something else :). There are some really big game animals in the region where KY, WV & VA come together.

  7. Loren Coleman responds:

    Where are the Pleistocene survivors, such as the pronghorn, the polar bear, the wolverine, in all the totems among the Native peoples who are touched by these animals’ ranges? Is kittenz saying that because the Thunderbird is a totem animal then that means they exist? I think we have to be careful about making the appearance of or lack of cultural artifacts equal to the proven existence or absence of an animal.

    Has the American atrox lion been a widely represented species in the American fossil record? No, not at all, compared to the sabertoothed cats. Atrox were rare.

    Kittenz proclaims that “in every other area where maned lions are known to have existed, they have been (and still are) revered.” Have lions always been held up as significant and important animals anywhere they have been found? Definitely not. Sporadic appearances do not necessarily equal iconic status. Diverse groups have diverse reactions to lions.

    While kittenz makes many good points, I must respectfully disagree that just because she has not discovered the folkloric evidence of a very rare lion in historic records does not mean it is not there. With all due respect to kittenz’s insights about cats, I must put forth the following quick examples, from my book:


    Hints of the concurrent existence of two large cats (the puma and the maned felids under discussion here) in the New World are the two “lions” seen in the Aztec zoo by Spanish explorers, and the two varieties of “lions” known to Friar Johann Jakob Baegaert when he was in Mexico in 1751-1768.


    Chad Arment has commented on the confused linguistic history of the word michichibi, which was apparently a maned carnivore reported in the southeast USA in the late 1600s. The animal was said to have features similar to a wolf, but with the mane and claws of a lion. More on these legends should be documented. Who knows what results a search might reveal?


    Mark A. Hall found this item from my adopted state of Maine as reported in the Bangor Courier in 1836:

    The forests of Maine still abound in numerous species of wild animals, such as the moose, deer, caribou, loupcervier, lunkasoose, and many others—most of them valuable for food and for their skins. The lunkasoose (the orthography is arbitrary) is an animal of which we have only heard recently; but tradition says that a ferocious animal of huge size, with a mane like a lion, has actually been seen to come to the borders of the river, and the lumbermen say that they have heard him in the woods roaring most lustily. The Indians, too, talk about the “lunkasoose,” and they are conclusive authority in such matters.

  8. kittenz responds:

    I admit to the possibility of being wrong about the existence, either prehistoric or ongoing, of native maned lions in North America … the possibility exists, of course. I don’t think that the evidence supports it, though. And I do think that as impressive and dangerous an animal as a maned lion would have left a highly visible imprint on Native American folklore. Lions have lived, within historic times, on three continents: Africa, Asia, and Europe. In all of these areas there are cultures that revere the lion, use its likeness in totems and coats-of-arms, and even name their children for it. (Singh, for instance, is but one of many examples of names that mean “lion”). Despite the fact that those same people in those same places routinely exterminated lions, they revered them. Our species has a long history of complicated relationships with the large predators it encounters.

    There’s really no way for us to know, from the fossils that have been found so far, whether Panthera atrox had a mane, and I don’t think that there’s been enough study, including the DNA studies that have been done, to determine that P. atrox (or “cave lions” either, for that matter) are in fact conspecific with Panthera leo. We infer that P. atrox was probably social, and therefore that there could have been the same kind of sexual dimorphism that produces maned male lions. Interestingly, though, ancient (European) cave art, which was of course created by people with direct visual knowledge of “cave lions”, depicts them as maneless. Some have suggested that the prehistoric artists only depicted the lionesses (which, in modern lions, do the bulk of the hunting for a pride) and not the maned males. But they depicted males of other species so I do not subscribe to that belief. I think that the cave lions were a separate but closely related species, and I also think that P. atrox ought to be referred to as a lion-like felid, rather than as “the American lion”. A subtle difference, I know, but an important one, if we are not to limit ourselves as to what those cats could have looked like. Maybe one will be someday found mummified, with skin and hair intact, and that could help to resolve the question of whether or not the males had manes. We paint ourselves into a corner when we say that a given fossil animal must have looked a certain way, just because it appears to be closely related to a modern species.

    I just don’t think that maned lions live here, except for those that have escaped captivity and may or may not be living and breeding in the wild in some places. North America has been pretty well explored and the possibility that such a large predator has gone undetected for centuries is pretty slim.

    I will, however, be the first one to cheer if I’m ever proven wrong about that 🙂 .

  9. Alligator responds:

    A word on Native American totems. The system varied by region and sometimes from tribe to tribe. Often the “animals” in the system were not physical animals; they were spirit-beings who represented themselves as animals. Usually each clan was designated by a spirit-animal or some other feature of the cosmos or attribute, e.g. “Sun Carriers,” “Gentle Sky,” “Peacemaker,” etc. Under each clan would have been a variety of sub clans: example, the Beaver clan may have had muskrat, mink and otter sub-clans under it.

    Some of the totems would clearly fall under the crypto category such as Thunderbirds and Water Spirits. The latter appeared as large serpents, sometimes with horns. However, in the lore of the American Indians these creatures are not just animals; they communicate with the people in dreams, visions and sometimes in a physical sense.

    It is hard for us to know what all clans and sub-clans various tribes had. Most of the old system has been totally disrupted by the 19th century and some clans are now extinct. Some elders remember that “a long time ago, there were more clans” but they don’t remember all the names.

    There are in many cultures stories about creation and when humans first came to earth. In these stories, the earth is inhabited by many kinds of supernatural beings, monsters and giants. Some of these could be vague and ancient memories of Pleistocene creatures handed down. Eventually the stories are “describing an elephant when no one has actually seen one. ” I remember one creation story about the “great elk” which from its description sounds suspiciously more like the Megaloceros rather than any modern species of elk.

    Pretty much, I’d say American Indian lore would be a weak way to prove or disprove the existence of American lions. In the end we’ll have to come up with a body, DNA or some other empirical evidence.

  10. cryptidsrus responds:

    Very believable report from that nurse. One has to admit that she did see SOMETHING, and it was terrfying to her enough that she phoned several schools. Again, very believable. Can’t wait to see if there are more sightings.

  11. Wutwuzit responds:

    I live very close to Bluefield West Virginia. My little town is just on the Virginia side of the state line(25 miles away).

    I’ve heard of many many reports of black panthers, and even had a possible sighting once myself. But I’ve never heard of a Maned Lion in the wild. I think there were some circus animals that escaped about 8 years ago, but I think they were captured, and I don’t think there were any real dangerous ones.

    Its interesting, and its cool if its true. Wish i had heard of it before.

  12. cryptothekid responds:

    And once again, the escaped circus animals argument comes up, even though that is *almost* NEVER the case. Its just the easiest argument for the skeptics to fall back on.

  13. coelacanth1938 responds:

    Considering the hard times we live in, it’s a wonder that the countryside isn’t swamped with people’s thrown away exotic pets.
    I’m expecting to hear about tiger attacks in the suburbs any day now.

  14. DWA responds:

    I’ll tell you this.

    You tell me I have to make a bet, and give me a choice: the sasquatch, or a native species of lion as yet uncatalogued.

    It’s sasquatch, in a heartbeat.

    Evidence, plain and simple. You have to have the evidence. Says here, a database for this lion would show everything the sasquatch database does, including frequency and coherence.

    Point me to that and you’re on the way to getting me.

  15. Loren Coleman responds:

    Actually, I’d say the number of sightings, footprint finds, and other evidence in support of cryptid felids (“black panthers,” “maned cats,” “striped felines,” and “alleged Eastern pumas”) outstrip the Sasquatch material on the order of three to one.

    However, “cat cryptids” are not as sexy as Sasquatch to most cryptozoologists, and thus are often overlooked, ignored, or merely collected and filed, without further investigations.

  16. DWA responds:

    Loren: that may be. But now we’re tossing a bunch of things together.

    The sasquatch data points to a consistently-described species (or several closely related ones). If we just restrict our discussion to what’s being described here – as I described it, and understand from what we’re talking about, a native lion corresponding considerably in appearance and size to the African, or to Panthera atrox, and uncatalogued by science – how many and how consistent are those; and how easy is it to toss them off to escapees?

    As we’ve seen, cryptid felids are a big mishmash; and many of them turn out to be overblown kitties. (Another point for the sasquatch: it’s hard to pass those reports off as a similar, but imagination-fueled, animal that exists in North America.)

  17. Loren Coleman responds:

    Well, I didn’t want to go here, but it is rather clear that what gets thrown into the Sasquatch-Bigfoot-Windigo-Oh-Mah pot is also a mishmash too. Three-toes, four-toes, five-toes, various heights, various stances, and more and more are all equal to the “Bigfoot phenomena.”

    The “consistently-described species” of Bigfoot is a myth, and anyone studying Bigfoot for more than a couple decades knows this.

    “A native lion corresponding considerably in appearance and size to the African, or to Panthera atrox” – based on what is known of felids – can live into a large tent – which includes melanistic females and maned lions – as I have discussed in my books and elsewhere.

    The debunking argument that cryptid felids translate into “many of them [being] overblown kitties,” of course, is as on targeted and tired as saying that the majority of Bigfoot are nothing more than misidentified bears, people, hippies, lumberjacks, cows, moose, trees, blobs in the distance, rocks, escaped monkeys, hoaxes, fakes, and cardboard cutouts.

    I’m sorry, but back to the statistical baseline I was referring to: the actual number of cryptid felids far outnumber the number of cryptid hairy humanoids being reported and the associated evidence collected of them.

    I did not say either one has any direct correlation to the positive proof of said unknown animal, since mentioning Panthera atrox or Gigantopithecus blacki merely adds another layer of scholarly-sounding speculation but has nothing to do with the number of reports or the amount of evidence.

    “Another point for the sasquatch: it’s hard to pass those reports off as a similar, but imagination-fueled, animal that exists in North America.” What exactly does this mean? Why one animal? See above. Also, it has been my experience that it has been very easy for most skeptical writers to equate the entire matter of Sasquatch to…imagination, period.

  18. DWA responds:

    Loren: I didn’t want to go here either so I’ll be brief.

    “Three-toes, four-toes, five-toes, various heights, various stances, and more and
    more are all equal to the “Bigfoot phenomena.”

    A lot of what you are describing for the sasquatch seems to be easily-tossed obvious prank reports. Much of the remainder can be easily chalked up to the subjective reactions of witnesses. I’ve read what’s left; and it’s very, very consistent.

    “The “consistently-described species” of Bigfoot is a myth, and anyone studying
    Bigfoot for more than a couple decades knows this.”

    My humble opinion is that too many Bigfoot researchers spend their time “researching” obvious pranks. I can tell you what I’ve read; and I think that a number of people with chops in the field would disagree with your statement. Consistency is essential to followup. And the sas data is consistent.

    All I’m asking is this. There’s a BFRO database. A TBRC database. A John Green database. These and other compilations of reports display Myra Shackley’s required factors: frequency and coherence. They support statistical investigations and display expected patterns of biogeographical conformity.

    We have lions running around, without any of that? Wow.

    All I’m saying is: point me to what I can read up on. If there’s nothing…then there’s nothing that will compel science to care. Simple.

  19. DWA responds:

    And I need to add: anyone who chalks up the sasquatch to “imagination, period” is, simply stated, a crank. As is every “skeptic” I have read on the topic. Remember, what they put up easily, I shoot up.

    Very, VERY easily.

  20. jtm_kryptos responds:

    first thing is first, thank you Mr. Coleman

    the day i read the book mysterious america my life as a would be cryptozoologist changed forever.

    any how, since that genius chapter on atrox, i began to notice that your theory fit very well.

    i mean i kept looking, and found more and more black cat sitings with maned lions accompanying them, or a maned male with tawny female and a few black kittens.

    this is just another example of how may i quote ian malcome from Jurrasic Park “that life will find a way”

    ps: i reading the book Loch, the one in which you praised it as being up there with The Lost World and King Kong one of the best cryptofictions i’ve ever read…

  21. DWA responds:

    I hope nobody’s thinking I would just toss this out with the trash.

    Look: if your reading of the evidence has you thinking Bigfoot could be real, you have de facto signed on with the underdogs.

    It’s just that the lesson of the sasquatch is: you better compile a lot of evidence before you bring it to science’s doorstep. Because a lot of science’s hardheadedness is what’s best about it. Science doesn’t chase unicorns.

    I thought that eastern cougars being escapees was a crock, until I found out how many freakin’ people keep big cats. A totally plausible sighting could be a totally plausible escapee.

    Whatever it is will require – as we have seen – more than anecdotes to confirm it.

    (Like tracks. Lots of tracks. How many giant felid trackways have been documented on this continent? Other signs than sightings start to lend the issue credibility.)

  22. archer1945 responds:

    I wish people would stop saying something doesn’t exist because there is no fossil evidence. Fossils are created under certain very specific conditions and if those conditions aren’t available there won’t be fossils created.

    As anyone who spends a great deal of time in the forest can attest you don’t see bones lying around from dead deer, elk, bear, raccoons, etc; skulls, because the bones in the skull are harder, but practically no complete skeletons. Shoot, ask a rancher in the West, how long the bones of a cow that dies out in the open will last. Why is this? Most bones are taken by other animals as a source of calcium and those animals don’t get decay very quickly in nearly all climates. Anything exposed to air decays, so the only way you can have fossils is for something to cover the bones fairly quickly to prevent air getting to them, usually mud, sometimes lava. Then that mud/lava has to be covered by more to prevent it from being washed away.

    There is a reason most fossils are discovered in ‘fossil beds’. That is because something cataclysmic happened to kill many animals at one time and then covered them up.

    While there is no way to prove it I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there aren’t many species that have existed on this planet that we have no record of because they weren’t in the wrong place at the right time and the bones they left just decayed right back into the ground. So don’t use the excuse, ‘there is no fossil evidence’ as a reason to say something doesn’t exist.

    Also sometimes the “experts” are wrong about something having disappeared. Case in point, for years it has been taught that while horses did exist in North America in pre-historic times, whatever that is, they had died out and weren’t seen again until the Spaniards returned with them. I just read recently that idea is taking a serious hit because the appaloosa of the Nez Perce is not related to any horse of the ‘Old World’. Not only that but historians are learning from old records that the Native Americans were not one bit surprised when they saw men on horseback; only way that could happen is if they had knowledge of men who rode horses.

  23. jtm_kryptos responds:

    archer1945 you are a genius…

    ofcourse, i’ve been thinking the same thing, fossils are extreamly difficult for the enviroment to make, let alone find millions of years later, or thousands, dosn’t matter.

    the main thing is that people don’t think logically, even so called scientists and skeptics don’t think of that, glad im not the only one.

    in the end, for all we know bigfoot and deloy’s ape could have traversed the americas for thousands of years, with out any knowledge of thier existance, same with atrox, could still be living, they were as the fossil record clarifies one of the smartest felids ever. thier absence from tar pits makes them smart enough to know that tar is a death trap unlike the smilodons at the time. besides that look at the ceolacanth! that stayed at the bottom of the ocean for millions of years, and they got bigger when all alone at the bottom of the ocean, but atrox could have gotten smaller to adapt to its enviroment.

    and just like any animal the melanistic gene is in its mutatable DNA, but even though many “experts” say even if the Atrox does still exist it would not be in an enviroment sutible for the mutation to live on, a black cat would stick out like a sore thumb, but what if they where extreamly noctournal hunters, then black would be not only a good camo, but a usabel trait in hunting. so i guess that blow sthat skeptic theory right out of the water…

    JTM, enter cryptic realms…

  24. kittenz responds:

    I agree with the points that have been made about lack of fossil evidence not necessisarily meaning that a given species did not exist in a given location. Most animals do not get fossilized, and most fossils are never found. But take the example of horses in the Americas for instance. There is controversy over whether the horses died out and were reintroduced, or were here all along, but they are HERE, in North America, now, at this time. The actual horses are here, you can see them, touch them, find their tracks, ride them, etc. It’s not like P. atrox, an animal that positively did live here but of which no one has any concrete evidence younger than several thousand years old.

    Possibly remnant populations of P. atrox or other very large felids survived for longer in some areas. Maybe for much longer – maybe even to this day in some extremely remote locations (and I’m thinking unexplored regions of South America when I say that). But I just do not believe that such a large, hypercarnivorous, probably social predator could survive undetected to this day in the USA. Certainly not in settled-for-centuries Virginia. I think that if this person saw a lion, it was probably a escaped or abandoned former captive lion.

    As to the possibility of males and females of P. atrox being different colors – I don’t buy it. People once thought that about black & spotted leopards, black & spotted jaguars, and tawny & gray jaguarundis too, until they became better-studied. But there is no known living example of a feline in which the males and females are different colors. Impossible? I would never say impossible 🙂 . It’s an interesting idea. But very unlikely.

  25. DWA responds:

    I agree that it’s an unsophisticated defense of one’s position to doubt the existence of an animal in the present day based on fossil evidence. And that of all people scientists should know that.

    But I don’t really think that’s a factor in this case. Here’s why I think that, say, the sasquatch and yeti are worthy of scientific attention but an American native lion isn’t (until I’m shown otherwise).

    1. The former two animals have left a significant amount of physical evidence (tracks; scats; blood; hair; etc.). The only reason this evidence can’t suffice to prove their existence is this: you need proof of the animal *before* you can conclude that its sign is present, i.e., you need a referent for the sign. The evidence I am talking about has been left, however, under compelling circumstances, and frequently appears significantly different from that left by recognized animals (and very similar to that left by known primates). For the lion, what do we have?

    2. As kittenz notes, atrox is considered to have been, from evidence available, similar to the African and Asian lions in its habits, e.g., it’s considered to be social, a large-game hunter, and an almost-exclusive carnivore. To this day, African and Asian lions claim human beings, not in self-defense but for food. It seems unlikely to me that unexplained disappearances of humans would go on for centuries without being traced, ever, to a yet-uncatalogued carnivore’s activity if indeed one were responsible (as from the available evidence we should expect to be the case if it were present). There is copious evidence that the sasquatch and yeti virtually never harm humans, so we wouldn’t expect to see that.

    3. Lions – as with other native American animals, with the significant exception of the sasquatch – had analogues among animals European colonizers were familiar with. I would expect the Native Americans to have quickly presented anecdotal evidence (as they did for hairy hominoids), and I would have expected colonists to take them seriously (as they didn’t for hairy hominoids), as lions would be an animal they wouldn’t have trouble accepting. Look what they called Puma concolor as soon as they encountered it. Actually, they used both panther and lion, both terms, and animals, they were familiar with.

  26. LynxKano responds:

    The felid cryptid could just be someone’s lost or ecaped pet …seriously with all self owned exotic animal reserves i wont be surpirsed…

  27. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, this thread has become a full blown discussion! I don’t really know what to say that has not already been said. I suppose I could add some thought on fossils and cryptids in general.

    I agree that fossil evidence is tricky and I’ve said it here before. I’ve always thought that to say lack of fossils means a creature did not exist is a somewhat faulty argument for the most part. The fact is that the vast majority of animal remains never get anywhere near fossilizing, most of them falling victim to decomposition and the work of scavengers long before then. Fossils are a very rare thing, needing very specific conditions to form, and so it is hard to base any argument against a creature’s existence upon a lack of fossils.

    Not only is their formation rare, but fossils can also be found where no one has looked or where it is not technologically or economically feasible to conduct an extensive search (like under the sea). So this means that even if the evidence IS out there, we just may not have stumbled across it yet. There are absolutely many creatures that have existed on this for which we have no fossil record yet, and for which may actually never even find it at all.

    It is also worth keeping in mind that even when fossils HAVE been found, sometimes they are not recognized for what they are until much later. There have been new whole new species discovered based on fossils that had already been uncovered and stored away, only to be re examined years down the line and found to be something different (sometimes quite significantly different) than previously thought. It often makes me wonder if we don’t already have fossils of some cryptids stored away somewhere that just haven’t been recognized for what they are.

    The only time I become doubtful about creatures with regards to fossil evidence (or lack thereof), is when not only is a creature proposed for which no fossils exist, but a whole evolutionary line of animals is suggested for which nothing close compares in the records. I’m willing to agree that animal fossils can go undiscovered, but to say that a whole line of animals and all of their relatives could be completely absent from the fossil record is a little harder to swallow for me. It is one thing to say that a creature’s fossils haven’t been found yet, but it is quite another to say that a particular animal evolved and left not even a single hint of any intermediate species that may have existed. In cases like these, lack of fossils can make me quite skeptical.

    Anyway, back on the big cats, the problem I see with fossil evidence in this case is that P. Atrox fossils HAVE been found. Their existence is not in dispute, and the animal DID exist. It’s just that, like Kittenz said, the fossil record stops thousands of years ago and no newer fossils have turned up. It doesn’t mean they are not there, but it is curious.

    I tend to agree that it is likely the reports represent escaped exotics, but I am definitely interested keeping an open mind on the matter and looking at the evidence presented. I really just want to get to the truth, so I still do consider the arguments that relic populations of these prehistoric cats might exist. I tend to doubt it for the reasons some of the others here have stated, but I would love to be wrong and I am not ready to discount the possibility altogether just yet.

  28. WolfCrazy responds:

    I believe this lion must have been released by an illegal owner. In several states, there is no restriction on the kinds of animals you can own. The fact that it targeted livestock suggests that it is an animal looking for easy prey because it is not familiar with the area, or maybe it has been fed beef its whole life in captivity.

  29. Gillian72crypto responds:

    I agree with WolfCrazy!!!!!! It must have been. In Richmond and in Front Royal Va there are sightings of a female African lion OR a cougar!

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