You may have heard of the movies ‘Bwana Devil’ (first American 3-D Color movie) and ‘The Ghost and The Darkness’ (starring Val Kilmer, Michael Douglas and our very own Om Puri) that were based on real life incidents connected to the Tsavo man-eaters of Kenya.
New research suggests that the number of victims may have been much lesser than previously thought.
Over nine months the two voracious hunters claimed 35 lives _ no small figure, but much less than some accounts of as many as 135 victims.
It was 1898, when laborers from India and local natives building the Uganda Railroad across Kenya became the prey for the pair, a case that has been the subject of numerous accounts and at least three movies. Link.
Also, the scientific technique takes into account only the number of victims eaten by the beasts, and obviously not the victims that were killed but not eaten.
Researchers led by anthropologist Nathaniel J. Dominy and Justin D. Yeakel of the University of California, Santa Cruz, report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
They noted that estimates of the death toll reported at the time ranged from 28 reported by the Ugandan Railway Company, to 135, claimed by Lt. Col. John H. Patterson, a British officer who killed the lions in December, 1898.
The researchers did note that their study covers only the number of people eaten, while the number killed may have been higher. They said the death toll may have been as high as 75.
More than a century and 10 years later, science can figure out how many people two lions ate. Isn’t science amazing?
And not to forget, regional Indian cinema had their own versions of the historical account, not necessarily set in east Africa, but same rail road in forests of Andhra Pradesh. Ladies and gentlemen, watch Chiranjeevi below (at least the part that has jay jay – j j j , can anyone suggest the original American movie/song name?)