Tower's royal lions 'from Africa'
Two lion skulls found during excavations at the Tower of London originated in north-west Africa, genetic research suggests.
The big cats, which were kept by royals during medieval times, have the same genetic make-up as the north African Barbary lion, a DNA study shows.
Experts believe the animals were gifts to English monarchs in the 13th and 14th centuries.
At the time, the Barbary lion roamed across much of Africa.
The two well-preserved lion skulls were recovered during excavations of the moat at the Tower of London in 1937. They have been radiocarbon dated to AD 1280-1385 and AD 1420-1480.
Researchers at the University of Oxford extracted DNA from the skulls, and found that it matched that of the north African Barbary lion.
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