CHICAGO, IL – The infamous Tsavo lions, said to have killed over 100 people, were found to have only eaten 35.
The pair of Kenyan lions, nicknamed “Ghost and the Darkness”, were killed in 1898 after reportedly eating 135 people! At the time, Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson was in charge of building a railway bridge over the Tsavo River to continue the Kenya-Uganda Railway.
The lions began entering the camps at night and dragging Indian railway workers out of their tents to devour them. Thorn fences were built around the area but the lions figured out how to crawl through.
After many unsuccessful traps, Patterson was able to shoot the lions three weeks apart. Only 28 Indians were recorded as being killed, however Patterson put the total number at 135, after including what he claimed were the deaths of unrecorded African locals.
Researchers at the Field Museum in Chicago have now concluded that the number was most likely 35. They analyzed the bones and pelts of the stuffed lions to determine what they had been eating.
“You are what you eat,” said researcher Bruce Patterson. “Just like salmon that eat mercury-tainted fish accumulate the metal in their bodies over time, so the chemical makeup of every animal’s diet is reflected in the tissues of their bodies.”
The researchers on the project believed that they are “95 percent confident that the lions ate as few as 4 or as many as 75 people total, with the highest probability falling out around 35 people.”
The exhibit at the Museum will be altered to include the new information.