Did Scar Actually Eat Mufasa In ‘The Lion King’? An Investigation
The fan theory is going viral on TikTok, but is lions eating lions even possible?
Up there with Vada asking where Thomas J’s glasses are in My Girl, one of cinema’s most painful, tear-inducing moments is easily baby Simba finding Mufasa’s dead body in The Lion King.
For a lot of millennials, the stampede scene from the 1994 classic was the first truly horrifying thing any of us saw at a young age — Simba being totally clueless about what was going on around him, a father desperate to save his only son from a stampede of wildebeest, and a brother sending his own sibling to his death was all just too much to bare.
The real gut-punch, however, was Simba cuddling up to his dad’s limp body in the dusty aftermath of the stampede as Scar manipulated the cub into running away.
But as sad as the scene is, there has always been one lingering question about that particular Lion King moment: Where exactly did Mufasa’s body go after Simba left?
Personally, I assumed Mufasa just rotted away and died as most animals do. I mean, famously, the whole Circle of Life spiel literally says that “when we die we become the grass and the antelope eat the grass, so we are all connected”.
But it turns out most people thought the hyenas just gobbled up Mufasa after his death because they’re natural scavengers, right? Wrong. One man on TikTok has decided to turn the world on its head with his theory that Scar was actually the one who ate his brother. Yes, lions eating lions.
OK, hear me out: In his video, which has already racked up 6.6 million views in two days, TikTok user Christian Jones claims that hyenas don’t usually eat lions, and that lions don’t actually have any natural predators.
However, Jones notes that sometimes lions can actually eat other lions, and that Scar seems to hold a skull that looks oddly like that of a lion in the scene where Zazu sings to him. So the natural deduction here is that Scar ate Mufasa, then kept his brother’s skull as a keepsake.
Take a look for yourself:
Me explaining my crackhead Disney theories at 4am on discord pic.twitter.com/uildCE2faX
— Nickeem (@nickeemVO) January 13, 2021
So, Did Scar Eat Mufasa?
While Christian Jones’ theory is very convincing, there are few things he got wrong during his research.
First, hyenas can eat lions — and there’s a whole lot of video proof of this online if that’s the type of content you like to watch. The Mental Floss article which Jones’ uses as a source in his TikTok actually just explains that “spotted hyenas don’t just scavenge for lion leftovers, [but] 95 percent of what hyenas eat come from hunting”.
And while Jones was correct that lions are apex land predators with no animals actively hunting them, that doesn’t mean hyenas can’t easily clear away a body once a lion has died. Despite enjoying hunting, at the end of the day hyenas are still scavengers who will eat any defenceless animals they come across — including dead lions, like Mufasa.
I mean, at the end of The Lion King, Scar is literally shown cowering in a corner as the hyena pack turn on him, implying he himself gets eaten alive by them.
Next, while it has been proven that lions can eat other lions, it’s not common. The blog post screenshot in Jones’ TikTok mostly just says that carnivores can kill other carnivores, but that “a lot of the time, the consumption of a rival is an act of dominance”.
While the Mapogo coalition — a group of six male lions who would kill and eat entire prides in Sabi Sand — case proved this could happen, the number of adult lions actually eating other adults lions is relatively low. What is more common is male lions killing and eating cubs that aren’t their own, meaning Scar probably would’ve chowed down on Simba if he stuck around.
And as for that skull Scar is seen holding, it could be argued that the skull is actually that of a baboon and not of Mufasa. As both baboons and lions have a similar head shape, the difference can be noticed by baboons having longer skulls with front-facing eye sockets, while the skull of a lion has sockets more to the side.
Sorry guys, that’s a baboon skull. Note the large front teeth and the short distance between eye sockets and the back of the head. pic.twitter.com/Hd6rNLNfCt
— Ana Carolina Art (@AnaCarolina_Art) January 13, 2021
But it is Scar, so I wouldn’t put keeping his brother’s skull as a trophy past him, to be honest — whether he sourced it himself or if his hyenas gave it to him after they finished grubbing. Plus, The Lion King is based on ‘Hamlet’, so a familial skull probably was an essential part of the film.
So there you go. Scar probably didn’t eat Mufasa, but that doesn’t change that fact that he still sucks so incredibly bad.