Saber-toothed tigers predators of the cat family that is completely extinct in ancient times. Cats are terrible and dangerous, the hallmark of which was very large upper canines, similar in appearance to saber.
What is known today about these extinct animals, what they looked like, what habits had and why they disappeared will be discussed further.
The evolution of the genus
These animals belong to the cat family and the subfamily of saber-toothed cats (genus Smilodon – dagger tooth). The first representatives of the genus appeared in the Paleogene period, about 2.5 million years ago. Favorable tropical climate, with small changes in temperature and green vegetation contributed to the flourishing of saber-toothed cats. During this period, they actively reproduce without need for food.
The next period – the Pleistocene, a time of more severe weather conditions, which is caused by alternating warming glaciation. These climatic conditions saber-toothed tigers have adapted well and felt pretty good. The distribution of predators – North and South America.
For the end of the last glacial period is characterized by dry and warm climate. On the territory where once were forests, prairies appeared. A large part of the fauna could not adapt to such a tough climate and became extinct. More resistant animals began to move to the open and large space, learned how to escape from predators and to move quickly.
Saber-toothed cats lose their usual food, predators and so are unable to switch to small prey. The feature of the structure of the beast, great body, short tail and legs made him slow-moving and clumsy. A long time to chase a small animal, he could not.
Long fangs also very well to catch small animals. At attempt of capture they were stuck in the ground, and sometimes even broke. Famine, perhaps for this reason, and extinct saber-toothed tigers.
Appearance and lifestyle
The description looked like a saber-toothed cat is very relative. The image created by scientists, is very conditional. Externally toothed tiger is quite unlike other cats. The proportions of looks like a bear, large canines make the predator is unique in its kind.
The size of ancient cats are comparable with the parameters of a large lion
- Height – 100-120 cm, length – 2.5 meters.
- The tail is small, only 25-30 cm This feature is not allowed to develop the maximum speed, so the predator couldn’t keep balance when chasing prey.
- Body weight ancient tiger reached 150-250 kg But larger representatives weighed 400 kg, which exceeds the mass of the Amur or Bengal tiger.
- The proportions of the body of the beast awkward, but the torso was distinguished by its power. The musculature of saber-toothed tiger is well developed, especially on the chest, legs, neck.
- The front limbs of extinct predators was longer than the back. Paws ended in sharp, retractable claws and large. They are easily captured prey with their paws.
- The skull length was around 30-40 cm, occipital and frontal part slightly flattened. Muzzle stretched forward.
- The jaw opened very well at 130 degrees. The special structure allowed us to push the production of the upper part of the jaw to the bottom. When the majority of members of the cat Vice versa.
- The upper canines of saber-toothed cat outside, went ahead by 18 cm, and the roots reached almost to the eye sockets. The length of the tusks can reach 28 cm, They were slightly constricted at the sides, but very sharp and jagged. This form of teeth allow them to bite through flesh and skin of the animal. But the strength of the canines did not differ. If they fell into the bone of the victim, it could break.
- The skin of a saber-toothed tiger was not preserved and its colour can be set only hypothetically. Scientists say that its color is adapted to the environment and was camouflage. Many experts are inclined that the skin a yellow-sand color. During the ice age saber-toothed cats most likely were white.
Behavior and lifestyle
Saber-toothed cat , an ancient cat, therefore, its behavior resembles the behavior of modern cats. Perhaps the predators lived in small flocks, composed of several males, females and young animals. The number of males and females was the same. To feed themselves, they hunted together, they could overwhelm larger prey.
These assumptions were confirmed archaeologically – one herbivorous animal there was some saber-toothed cats. But it does not exclude the theory that predators did not differ generosity and ate their sick tribesman.
The anatomical structure of the cat suggests that the animal could not speed, so when hunting was sitting in ambush, waiting for prey. And only after rapidly and dramatically forge it. Herds of herbivores in the Pleistocene period was extensive. Saber-toothed tigers, it was easy to get their own food.
Saber-toothed tigers main food is meat. Their skeletal remains were discovered squirrels, bison and horses.
Extinct members of the genus
Often saber-toothed cats are called a large number of species which were as large fangs. In many cats, canines were the result of adaptation to changing environmental conditions. In a more detailed study can find differences from the real saber-toothed tigers. Consider the well-known representatives of saber-toothed cats.
This kind of saber-toothed cats, which is known to scientists and is most similar to tiger. In ancient times there were several types. They differed in appearance, in size, but they were United on one large upper fangs, shaped like curved swords.
These ancient predators first appeared in Eurasia around 15 million years ago. The largest specimens reached 500 kg, and their size is approaching the size of a modern horse. Scientists believe that these extinct cats were the largest members of the cat. They hunted large animals, such as elephants and rhinos. Like all predators of that period, they could compete with other carnivorous animals, wolves and cave bears. Maharogi considered to be the progenitors of a better view of saber-toothed tigers – homotherium.
It is believed that these saber-toothed cats appeared 5 million years ago, at the turn of the Miocene and Pleistocene. They are characterized by a more proportional figure, vaguely reminiscent of a modern lion. Front legs were much longer than the rear. So apparently the predators like hyenas. The front fangs were shorter but wider than in other representatives of saber-toothed cats. Canines are extremely jagged, so the researchers concluded that these predators not only inflicted chopping blows, but also made cutting actions.
These saber-toothed cats were more hardy than their other counterparts. Somateria could be a long time to move – to run, albeit slowly. There is a theory that these extinct tigers were living alone. But this opinion is not widely shared, as many scientists believe that all sabre-toothed cats hunted large prey in packs.
Compared to other kinds of sabre-toothed cats, smilodon differed a powerful and muscular physique.
Smilodon populator is the most massive representative of the saber-toothed tigers:
- height – 125 cm, and length from tip of tail to nose could reach 250 cm;
- length of horns from tip to root reached 30 cm.
They hunted in a pack, where there were a leader, which sent the rest. Presumably the coat color of a predator was spotted like the leopard. But also, scientists believe that the males attended a small mane. To obtain information on smilodon easy, it can be found in reference books, fiction. Often these predators are characters in movies, cartoons (Ice age, “Prehistoric Park”, “primeval”). This is probably the most famous representatives of ancient tigers.
A modern descendent of
Many scientists are inclined to believe that the clouded leopard is a modern descendant of the saber-toothed tigers. This leopard is not a direct descendant, but at the same time, a close relative. The clouded leopard belongs to the subfamily peterovich cats.
The body of the animal is massive, compact, which is typical for the more ancient representatives of saber-toothed cats. When compared with modern individuals, the fangs of the clouded leopard has the longest (and lower and upper). The jaws of this predator revealed 85 degrees, which is much more than any modern predatory cats.
This leopard is not a direct descendant of the saber-toothed tigers, but he’s a Prime example of that ancient cats were easily hunted by saber-like fangs.
Saber-toothed cats – a unique creation of nature, which even after the disappearance from the planet, forced to admire, horrified and surprised them by putting forward various theories and hypotheses about their past life.