Marozi: A lion and leopard hybrid?

Marozi - Page 1: Evidence Of A New Species | 2: Theories | 3: Examination Of The Specimens |
4: Cryptozoological Artwork

Marozi skin and skull specimens were last examined in 1937 and plans exist to extend these studies with DNA analysis. Time will tell if these studies go any further.

The skin:

In various examinations the following things have been recorded regarding the skin:

    • Male.
    • 5' 10½" (head and body only. Without tail).
    • Tail (without tuft) 2' 9".
    • Total length 8' 8".
    • Estimated age of 3 years (about 1 year from fully grown).
    • Insignificant mane, this being 5" at its longest point.
    • Distinctive irregular spots or rosettes over the flanks, shoulders and thighs. Not present down the spine.
    • Diameter of the largest spots: 85 by 45, or 65 by 65 mm.
    • Rosette colour across flanks: greyish brown with a darker centre.
    • Solid spots on the legs and abdominal area. Very obvious on the underbelly due to the pelage ground colour being paler. Less spotting on the hind legs than the forelegs.


Researchers at the Natural History Museum have now drawn the conclusion that the skin is not from a hybrid, and it is recorded as a young male lion which has retained vestiges of its juvenile coat. Two photographs on this page show that trait:

The lioness displays some abdominal spotting, though to a much lesser degree than the marozi skins.

The black and white image is even more interesting. This male was photographed at Nairobi National Park, Kenya, about 30 years ago. He is estimated at somewhere between one and two-years of age. Compare his pelage to the marozi skin shown on the left.

The skull:

The skulls of the two marozi shot in 1931 were not kept, however a skull thought to belong to one of the lions was later located and examined.

  • The skull had all the teeth, though the lower jaw was missing.
  • It was not from a fully-grown animal as all the sutures remained open.
  • It was not possible to determine the sex.
Other known facts:

It's also possible to conclude that this unusual felid:

    • Is a of a size slightly smaller than a lion and slightly larger than a leopard. 
    • Travels in pairs or possibly small prides.
    • Does not exhibit a mane of any significance. An interesting point here is that male ligers (lion father/tiger mother) also very rarely have any manes.
    • Preferred higher elevations and forested areas, rather than the lower open plains.

    As time passes it becomes less likely the mystery of the marozi will ever be solved. It now seems clear that these mysterious cats are extinct, at least in the wilds of the Aberdare Mountains. There have been no further marozi reports in that area for over 60 years, though spotted lions are still quite commonly reported in other parts of Africa.

Marozi - Page 1: Evidence Of A New Species | 2: Theories | 3: Examination Of The Specimens |
4: Cryptozoological Artwork

Hybridisation | Ligers | Tigons & Ti-Tigons | Leopons | Pumapards | Marozi | Other Hybrid Cats | Medical Curiosities

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Photography With Thanks To Kenneth Dower & William Heinemann (Photo 1)
Art Slack (Photo 2)
Judith A Rudnai & Washington Square East Publishers (Photo 3)
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