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In March 1898 the British started building a railway bridge over the Tsavo River in Kenya. The project was led by Lt. Col. John Henry Patterson. During the next nine months of construction, two maneless male Tsavo lions stalked the campsite, dragging Indian workers from their tents at night and devouring them.
The exact number of people killed by the lions is unclear. Patterson gave several figures, claiming that there were 135 victims.
The two lion specimens in Chicago's Field Museum are known as FMNH 23970 (killed on December 9, 1898) and FMNH 23969 (killed on December 29, 1898).
This analysis estimated that FMNH 23969 ate the equivalent of 10.5 humans and that FMNH 23970 ate 24.2 humans  This leads to the conclusion that the lower number of 35 victims is more likely and that Patterson exaggerated his claims.. It also adds credence to the infirmity theory that the root-tip abscess on the lower right canine of FMNH 23970 (the "first man-eater) triggered the man-eating episode.