Panthera leo spelaea, the European Cave Lion (300,000 to 10,000 years ago), was probably the largest cat that ever lived, being around 25% larger than modern lions, and larger than modern Siberian tigers. It was probably comparable in size to modern liger hybrids. It ranged across most of Europe and is depicted in cave paintings. Cave paintings and remains show that it lived until historical times in south-eastern Europe and possibly as recently as 2000 years ago in the Balkans. Cave paintings from Germany show cave lions as having ruffs or manes and tufted tails. A wall engraving from France and an ivory figurine of a lion-pelt-wearing human from Russia indicate faintly striped pelts. European Cave Lions inhabited steppes and parkland regions in the north and semi-desert areas in the south of Eurasia. They were evidently not adapted to deep snow or to dense forests.


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