Category: Blog


Published: August 25, 2016

The Man-Eating Lions of Tsavo

Emily Graslie, Chief Curiosity Correspondent, Brain Scoop

In 1898, two African lions began attacking and consuming railway workers in Tsavo, Kenya. First reports estimated that 135 people fell victim to these "man-eaters," but further research published in 2009 lessened that number to 35 individuals. Over the years, different theories as to what motivated these attacks have varied, and recently we got to talk with two experts who are working towards finding an answer. 

More Info:
Bruce Patterson's book, "The Lions of Tsavo: Exploring the Legacy of Africa's Notorious Man-Eaters."
More about Bruce's work at The Field Museum
"Cooperation and individuality among man-eating lions," Yeakel et al. 2009 
"Legendary 'man-eating' lions of Tsavo likely ate about 35 people -- not 135, scientists say."

Dr. Larisa DeSantis' website

Colonel John H. Patterson's book (no relation to Dr. Bruce Patterson): "The Man-Eaters of Tsavo: and other East African Adventures."

Some of this material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1053839. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.