I dont know why this is in the Oriental Orthodox section, it is better to be taken somewherelse where we discuss something like this.
first.....Those lions never pretended to impersonate neither a Nazarene nor an Orthodox Christian hermit when it suits them with their hair styles. Nor did they worship in a cult of a mere man as the messiah of the Living God. So the recommended and sometime practiced hair cut by the Bishop to set apart the heretics and false brethren does not apply to them. The truth remains, that Other than to get rid of the impersonators of big principles, no one cares about anyone’s hair style or the lack or presence of hair.
@ Jetvan it seems to me it was not the researchers but the news editor Megan cannon came up with the word ‘Rasta lions’ because she assumed it’s an easy association between seeing the Ethiopian ‘Black Lion’ on Rasta t-shirts and logos in the west as if the lion is called by Ethiopians a ‘Rasta lion’ which is completely false and once more shows how easily some in the academia can easily fall for the hype in their corner of town. The Lions are called ‘ tikur anbessa’/ black lions because of the unique black mane they have. They have been the symbol of Ethiopians for centuries. Like the bald eagle represents the US so does the Black Lion Ethiopians. One of the patriotic insurgency movements was named black lions, our historians writers and various contributors to Ethiopian history and civilization are called black lions because they are uniquely Ethiopian in the focus of their service and are part of the National Pride.
The meaning of Ras in Ethiopia means prince. We certainly do not call those lions Rasta lions , we understand ‘Rasta’ to be something else entirely foreign to Ethiopian historical and ideological and religious understanding. Unfortunately the attempted correction of the Emperor Haile Silase who was the butt of the joke did not take hold. As some are still enamored with the distorted idea of him, and also there are those who would drag his name as a validation to their pseudo religious political ideology. Either way, the Ethiopian know our history and our Faith and that includes engaging in the defense of the good name of our ‘ black lions’ as their noble name is our name.
In Ethiopia there are other endemic animals such as the Red Fox/ Simien Fox because of its red fur, we certainly do not call ourselves ‘ the red foxes’ loll so it aint about the color of the hair, or the style of the hair, as much as who the personality and the character that gives honor to the shade of the hair. Grey hair is a crown of old age, if worn by some one of little character it dishonors them that much.
here is the original researchers publication on European Journal of wildlife research. http://www.springerlink.com/content/046h10rr1kx0276j/
A genetically distinct lion (Panthera leo) population from Ethiopia
Susann Bruche, Markus Gusset, Sebastian Lippold, Ross Barnett, Klaus Eulenberger, Jörg Junhold, Carlos A. Driscoll and Michael Hofreiter