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Evidence from the numbers found at La Brea Tar Pits suggests that Smilodon , like modern lions , was a social carnivore. The first saber-tooths to appear were non-mammalian synapsids , such as the gorgonopsids ; they were one of the first groups of animals within synapsida to experience the specialization of sabre teeth, and many had long canines.
Some had two pairs of upper canines with two jutting down from each side, but most had one pair of upper extreme canines. Because of their primitiveness, they are extremely easy to tell from machairodonts. Several defining characteristics are a lack of a coronoid process , many sharp "premolars" more akin to pegs than scissors, and very long skulls. The second appearance is in Deltatheroida , a lineage of Cretaceous metatherians.
At least one genus, Lotheridium , possessed long canines, and given both the predatory habits of the clade as well as the generally incomplete material, this may have been a more widespread adaptation.
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The third appearance of long canines is Thylacosmilus , which is the most distinctive of the saber-tooth mammals and is also easy to tell apart. It differs from machairodonts in possessing a very prominent flange and a tooth that is triangular in cross section. The root of the canines is more prominent than in machairodonts and a true sagittal crest is absent. The fourth instance of saber-teeth is from the clade Oxyaenidae. The small and slender Machaeroides bore canines that were thinner than in the average machairodont.
Its muzzle was longer and narrower. The fifth saber-tooth appearance is the ancient family of carnivores, the nimravids. Both groups have short skulls with tall sagittal crests, and their general skull shape is very similar. Some have distinctive flanges, and some have none at all, so this confuses the matter further.
Machairodonts were almost always bigger, though, and their canines were longer and more stout for the most part, but exceptions do appear. The sixth appearance is the barbourofelids. These carnivores are very closely related to actual cats. The best-known barbourofelid is Barbourofelis , which differs from most machairodonts by having a much heavier and more stout mandible , smaller orbits , massive and almost knobby flanges, and canines that are farther back. The average machairodont had well-developed incisors, but barbourofelids were more extreme.
Many of the saber-toothed cats' food sources were large mammals such as elephants, rhinos, and other colossal herbivores of the era. The evolution of enlarged canines in Tertiary carnivores was a result of large mammals being the source of prey for saber-toothed cats. The development of the saber-toothed condition appears to represent a shift in function and killing behavior, rather than one in predator-prey relations.
Sabertooth (Life of the Past) | Products | Prehistoric animals, Exotic names, Books
Many hypotheses exist concerning saber-tooth killing methods, some of which include attacking soft tissue such as the belly and throat, where biting deep was essential to generate killing blows. The elongated teeth also aided with strikes reaching major blood vessels in these large mammals.
However, the precise functional advantage of the saber-toothed cat's bite, particularly in relation to prey size, is a mystery. A new point-to-point bite model is introduced in the article by Andersson et al. For the saber-tooth, this size-reversed functional advantage suggests predation on species within a similar size range to those attacked by present-day carnivorans, rather than "megaherbivores" as previously believed.
A disputing view of the cat's hunting technique and ability is presented by C.
Brain in "The Hunters or the Hunted? What's more, there were other sabertooths that were not cats, animals with exotic names like nimravids, barbourofelids, and thylacosmilids. Some were no taller than a dom With their spectacularly enlarged canines, sabertooth cats are among the most popular of prehistoric animals, yet it is surprising how little information about them is available for the curious layperson.
Some were no taller than a domestic cat, others were larger than a lion, and some were as weird as their names suggest. Sabertooths continue to pose questions even for specialists. What did they look like?
The revival of an extinct species is no longer a fantasy. But is it a good idea?
How did they use their spectacular canine teeth? And why did they finally go extinct? In this visual and intellectual treat of a book, Mauricio Anton tells their story in words and pictures, all scrupulously based on the latest scientific research. The book is a glorious wedding of science and art that celebrates the remarkable diversity of the life of the not-so-distant past. Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages.
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More filters. Sort order. Jul 03, Jamie Revell rated it it was amazing Shelves: zoology. In many respects, the approach is similar, although updated with the very latest information. Here, however, the topic is not restricted to cats, sabretooth or otherwise. Instead, all sabretooths are fair game: there is coverage here of the barbourofelids and nimravids, of the sabretoothed marsupials, and even the reptile-like gorgonopsians. Like this presentation? Why not share! Embed Size px. Start on. Show related SlideShares at end. WordPress Shortcode.
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