::Nittany Lion

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This article is about the Penn State mascot. For the Penn State fight song see "The Nittany Lion (song)".

The Nittany Lion is the mascot of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, USA and its athletic teams. It refers to the mountain lions that are thought to have once roamed Mount Nittany,<ref>{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> a local landmark. There is a song played during sporting events on campus entitled "The Nittany Lion." Fans know this song as Hail to the Lion, even though that is not technically the name of the song.

The Nittany Lion mascot pumps up the crowd at the 2005 football game versus Cincinnati at Beaver Stadium.

The mascot was the creation of Penn State senior H. D. "Joe" Mason in 1907 since the Nittany Lion is not a real animal. While on a 1904 trip to Princeton University, Mason had been embarrassed that Penn State did not have a mascot. Mason did not let that deter him: he fabricated the Nittany Lion on the spot and proclaimed that it would easily defeat the Princeton Bengal tiger.<ref name="history">{{#invoke:citation/CS1|citation |CitationClass=web }}</ref> The Lion's primary means of attack against the Tiger would be its strong right arm, capable of slaying any foes (this is now traditionally exemplified through one-armed push-ups after the team scores a touchdown). Upon returning to campus, he set about making his invention a reality. In 1907, he wrote in the student publication The Lemon:

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Mountain lions had roamed on nearby Mount Nittany until the 1880s.<ref name=LATimes /> The origin of the name "Mount Nittany" is obscure, the most commonly accepted explanation being that it is derived of Native American words (loosely pronounced as "neet-a-nee") named after the cougars that roamed the mountain or "single mountain" - a protective barrier against the elements.{{ safesubst:#invoke:Unsubst||date=__DATE__ |$B= {{#invoke:Category handler|main}}{{#invoke:Category handler|main}}[citation needed] }}. The "original" nittany lion can be seen in the Paterno Library as the only known mounted eastern mountain lion. It was killed in Susquehanna County by Samuel Brush in 1856.<ref>This Is Penn State, An Insider's Guide to the University Park Campus, pg. 74</ref> According to a July 1992 article in National Geographic by Maurice Hornocker titled "Learning to Live with Mountain Lions", "Courthouse records from Centre County, Pennsylvania, show that one local hunter killed 64 lions between 1820 and 1845. During those 25 years an estimated 600 cats were killed in that county alone."


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