Sabretooth tigers hunted in packs

By | October 30, 2008

…  The so-called sabretooth tiger – Smilodon fatalis – is famous for its extremely long canine teeth, which reached up to seven inches and extended below the lower jaw.

But although commonly called “tigers”, due to their size, the species is actually part of a different subfamily, and they lived very differently.

While sabretoothed “tigers” were powerful predators, they were social beasts, rather than skulking loners, according to Dr Chris Carbone, a research fellow of the Zoological Society of London.

He said: “The extinct sabretoothed cat, Smilodon fatalis, has been something of an enigma, with almost nothing known of its behaviour.

“This research allowed us… to conclude that this cat was more likely to roam in formidable gangs, than as a secretive solitary animal.”

S.fatalis – one of many sabretooth cat species – lived between 1.6 million and 10,000 years ago, in North and South America.

Many Smilodon fossils have been found in the Late Pleistocene era tar seeps at Rancho La Brea, California – apparently lured to their fate by the calls of trapped, dying herbivores.

In fact, the fossils are so numerous, many palaeontologists now believe the cats were pack hunters, who came to scavenge prey and share the spoils…. – bbc

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