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Lions, Share

By Rachelle Bowden in Arts & Entertainment on Sep 20, 2007 10:16PM

We give you some lion-skull bones, you give us a 1.5 million-year-old hominid boy skeleton. Deal? That's what's in the works — maybe — for the Field Museum and the National Museums of Kenya, according to the Sun Times.

2007_9_20_lions.jpgThe Field Museum is home to the skulls and stuffed skins of "the Man-Eaters Of Tsavo," two lions who killed and ate at least 140 railroad workers in 1898 in Tsavo, Kenya. Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson shot them and kept their pelts, which he sold to the Field Museum in 1924 for $5,000, but the skins were in shoddy shape. That's why their taxidermied bodies are smaller than their real bodies.
Field Museum prez John McCarter told the Sun Times that the lions are "too fragile" to be repatriated. Just us, or is staring into the face of a zombie lion a great way never to sleep again? Shudder.

Instead of the stuffed lions, folks at the Field are considering sending the skulls, which, while cool, still don't have the same zip as the (creepy) physical recreations. In exchange, Kenya would lend us Turkana Boy, the oldest and most complete known Homo erectus skeleton, one of the most important discoveries ever in paleoanthropology.

photo by jotyco.