Panthera Atrox
Panthera leo atrox.jpg
Name Panthera Atrox
Order Carnivora
Family Felidae
Class Mammalia
Name Translation American Lion
Period Late Pleistocene-Early Holocene (340,000 years ago-11,000 years ago)
Location North America, South America
Diet Carnivore
Length 11 feet (6 inches, 3.5 metres long), 5 feet (1.5 metres) tall

The American lion (Panthera leo atrox or Panthera atrox) — also known as the North American lion or American cave lion — is an extinct feline of the family Felidae, endemic to North America during the Pleistocene epoch (340,000 ya to 11,000 years ago), existing for approximately 329000 thousand years. While it was once considered a subspecies of lion closely related to the Eurasian cave lion (Panthera leo spelaea), later study showed that it was not in fact a true lion and cannot be assigned to any modern species of cat. The American lion was one of the largest types of cat ever to have existed, slightly larger than the Early Middle Pleistocene primitive cave lion, P. Leo Fossilis and about twenty-five percent larger than the modern African lion.



Approximately one hundred specimens of American lions have been recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits, in Los Angeles, so their body structure is well known. The features and teeth of the extinct American lion strongly resemble modern lions (cave paintings show that in fact the american lion lacked a mane.), but they were considerably larger. Allthough like all other cave lions it was not a true lion.

However at least one authority considers the American lion (along with the cave lion), to be more closely related to the tiger; the braincase, in particular, appears to be especially similar to the braincase of a tiger.

However, mitochondrial DNA sequence data from remains of the American lion from Wyoming and Alberta show it is a sister lineage to the cave lion, and likely arose when an early cave lion population became isolated south of the North American continental ice sheet.


This extinct lion was found in throughout North America as well as northern South America(However, the fossil remains found in Peru likely correspond to large jaguars.). It had 5 razor-sharp retractable claws and sharp teeth (larger than those of other extinct cats). The most well known fossils found were out of the Rancho La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, although some were also found in Alaska. The American lion is prominate in the US & Canadain fossil record.

Popular Culture

  • The American Lion appeared in three episodes of Wild New World aka Prehistoric America.
  • The American Lion appeared in Monsters We Met.
  • The American Lion appeared in LA 10,000 BC.
  • The American Lion appeared in Ice Age Death Trap.
  • The American Lion appeared in National Geographic’s Prehistoric Predators “Sabertooth” and "Bear".
  • The American Lion appeared in Ninth episode of Jurassic Fight Club called the Mega Lion and was killed by a short face bear.


Recreacion de la conabio del Leon americano

American Lion/Gallery