Dual phylogenetic origins of Nigerian lions (Panthera leo)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Lion fecal DNA extracts from four individuals each from Yankari Game Reserve and Kainji-Lake National Park (central northeast and west Nigeria, respectively) were Sanger-sequenced for the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. The sequences were aligned against 61 lion reference sequences from other parts of Africa and India. The sequence data were analyzed further for the construction of phylogenetic trees using the maximum-likelihood approach to depict phylogenetic patterns of distribution among sequences. Our results show that Nigerian lions grouped together with lions from West and Central Africa. At the smaller geographical scale, lions from Kainji-Lake National Park in western Nigeria grouped with lions from Benin (located west of Nigeria), whereas lions from Yankari Game Reserve in central northeastern Nigeria grouped with the lion populations in Cameroon (located east of Nigeria). The finding that the two remaining lion populations in Nigeria have different phylogenetic origins is an important aspect to consider in future decisions regarding management and conservation of rapidly shrinking lion populations in West Africa.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Biological Sciences


  • Dual origins, fecal DNA, Nigerian lions, Sanger sequencing
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2668-2674
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch