Scientists have discovered a lioness that is said to exhibit the physical characteristics of both male and female lions.
Mmamoriri the lioness – who lives on the plains of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, southern Africa – has naturally adopted the characteristics of her male counterparts in order to survive.
She has grown a mane to fool invading prides into thinking she is male, as well as developing a deeper and more masculine roar.
However, Mmamoriri – who was first discovered back in 2012 – is not alone.
The scientists believe she is one of five lions in the area with the same adaptations.
In addition, they say that the phenomenon will pass down to the next generation; an evolutionary twist that will ensure future prides can survive at their most vulnerable, if the alpha male is killed or dies.
Mmamoriri is one of the stars of the new BBC documentary, The World’s Sneakiest Animals, which will be shown on Christmas Day.
Others who have adapted their gender in order to survive include male deer, which don’t grow antlers – meaning they are able to ‘sneakily’ breed with females, while the other males fight for access.
The show – presented by wildlife expert Chris Packham – also features cuttlefish that can change colour and shed skin to disguise themselves.
The argument that same-sex relationships are somehow “unnatural” is often wheeled out by those opposed to gay rights – yet the animal kingdom continues to prove that they couldn’t be more wrong.
Same-sex activity is used in the animal kingdom for many reasons, ranging from pleasure-seeking to conflict solving. Many species even form bonds for life with their same-sex partner.