Dinosaur Sculptures at Crystal World – Sabertooth Tiger

Smilodon is a genus of the extinct machairodont subfamily of the felids. Although commonly known as the saber-toothed tiger, it was not closely related to the tiger or other modern cats. Smilodon lived in the Americas during the Pleistocene epoch (2.5 mya – 10,000 years ago). The genus was named in 1842 based on fossils from Brazil; the generic name means “scalpel” or “two-edged knife” combined with “tooth”. Overall, Smilodon was more robustly built than any extant cat, with particularly well-developed forelimbs and exceptionally long upper canine teeth. Its jaw had a bigger gape than that of modern cats, and its upper canines were slender and fragile, being adapted for precision killing.

There have been three distinct species identified, the smaller (S. gracilis) weighed around 55 to 100 kg in weight,. while the bigger speicies (S. populator) was around 220 to 436 kg in weight and 120 cm in height. Both of these species are known throughout North and South America.

In North America, Smilodon hunted large herbivores such as bison and camels, and it remained successful even when encountering new prey species in South America. Scientists debate whether Smilodon had a social or a solitary lifestyle; analysis of modern predator behavior as well as of Smilodon‘s fossil remains could be construed to lend support to either view. Smilodon died out at the same time that most North and South American megafauna disappeared, about 10,000 years ago. Its reliance on large animals has been proposed as the cause of its extinction, along with climate change and competition with other species

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