|“||This is Smilodon, better known as the fable and famous Saber-Tooth Cat, its literal meaning is "knife tooth." They're up to three meters long, have saber-teeth, hunt in packs, and are ruthless predators. Fast, elegant, it's a real natural born killer, they are the most powerful big cat of all time and the most famous prehistoric and extinct cat!||„|
|— Allen, about Smilodon|
Smilodon (name meaning "Knife Tooth"), also called the "Saber-Tooth Cat", as well as previously and mistakenly called the "Saber-Tooth Tiger", is a genus of large predatory saber-toothed cat that originated during the Pleistocene epoch in what is now North and South America. Recognized for their two large, saber-like teeth (as their name suggests), this is the largest and most powerful saber-toothed cat of all time, and defiantly the most famous prehistoric cat.
It is a 2.5-3 meter long, 100 to 500 kg predator (depending on the species) originally from North America that in one form crossed the land bridge from North America and came to South America, becoming even larger in the South American version. It was an apex predator that seems to have replaced the native 'Terror Bird' Phorusrhacos as top predators (though some would rather fairly think that the largest were evenly matched with any Smilodon, with savage hooked beaks, talons and is 3 meters tall and able to run at 50 mph and more).
The saber-teeth are enlarged upper canines. The genus includes the well-known North American species Smilodon fatalis, found in large numbers in the La Brea tar pits, but the largest species is S. populator from South America. Saber-Tooth Cats are the most famous of all prehistoric felines. It is possible that the Smilodon were wiped out by humans along with many megafaunal animals.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Smilodon lived during the Pleistocene over 3 million years ago, sharing its environment with other mammals, such as Macrauchenia, Megatherium, Phorusrhacos, Toxodon, and even the mighty Woolly Mammoth. About 3 million years ago, Sabre-Tooth Cats were once the top predators in North America. Originally from North America, they came to South America 2 million years later and the balance of life in South America changed as they became and took over the role as the top predators.
As they spread down to South America, they were fast taking over from Phorusrhacos. Smilodon was fierce enough to terrorize the Terror Birds. Smilodon were very successful predators, among the top predators of the Ice Age, and survived up until as recently as 10,000 years ago. Over time, the world around them changed too much: the climate became cooler and drier and the larger prey they specialized in killing, such as Toxodon and Macrauchenia, disappeared. Therefore, the saber-tooth world came to an end.
Smilodon was first discovered in 1842 by Peter Wilhelm Lund. Although it was their original name, thus they were commonly known as the Saber-Toothed Tiger, Smilodon was not at all closely related to the tiger or other modern cats. Ergo, there is now no such thing as a Saber Tooth Tiger. The correct name for these beasts is Saber Tooth Cats.
There have been many different species of Smilodon. At around 100 kilograms, the smallest is S. gracilis, whereas the largest, at over 500 kilograms, is S. populator. Weighing about 300 kilograms, S. fatalis is somewhere in the middle. Females had large, stocky front legs and that's because of the large animals, like Toxodon and Macrauchenia, that they had to bring down. Powerfully built, Smilodon possessed large, deadly saber-teeth which it used to kill its prey by crushing its throat, and it was capable of running at immense speeds of approximately 30 kilometers per hour.
Their saber-teeth are awe-inspiring. And paleontologists are fairly certain about how Smilodon used them. One devastating bite to the throat of their prey and their saber-teeth sliced through all the major blood vessels, simultaneously severing the blood supply and the jugular, and therefore crushed and strangled the windpipe. That meant the prey couldn't attack back, couldn't kick them with hooves, couldn't injure them at all. One bite and the prey was dead. Those Sabre–Teeth were a really ingenious killing technique, but only when the prey was totally subdued are the famous sabers drawn. They were extraordinary precise and accurate tools for killing.
But these were the original double-edged swords. The lethal 20-centimeter sabers were actually quite fragile. They cannot bite into bone and so Smilodon could only eat the fleshier parts of a carcass. It's those huge incisor teeth which make the Sabre Tooth Cat such a successful, specialized killer.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Some scientist today theorize that Smilodon lived and behaved in an almost identical way modern lions do today. For example, Smilodon lived in tightly–knit clans. Male Smilodon could take over clans at the age of four years, the females did at least 90% of the hunting, and males doing most of the inner-breed fighting. Though they typically hunted in packs, a single Smilodon alone was just as dangerous as a pack of them. Like many predators, they would typically go for easy prey and would pick off any who strayed from the group.
Smilodon also used similar techniques as lions to hunt prey. When hunting, the females hunted together as a pack, inching forward to set the trap. They could stalk herds of animals for up to two hours. Gradually, they fanned out with the lead female moving wide – trying to encircle their prey. Smilodon were powerful killers and these cats were able to accelerate explosively at amazing bursts of speed, but like all cats, only over a short distance as they were not built for long chases. Unless they got close, they didn't stand a chance. Even one false move and they would have to start all over again.
Once they charged at their prey, Smilodon erupted out of the grass. The lead female drove the prey towards the other females. Surprisingly, as the cats fight to restrain their prey, they do not use their infamous teeth, in case they break them. First, they work together to pin down the struggling animal under the weight of their bodies. Smilodon killed its prey by using its immense strength to pin its prey down before crushing its prey's throat with its saber-teeth. Only when the prey is totally subdued are the famous sabers drawn.
Like some modern-day species of big cat, Smilodon would gnaw on the bones of their prey. But when fighting against more capable and defensive prey or opponents, Smilodon would instead go into an extremely wild, uncontrolled, dangerous and unpredictable battle frenzy; madly slashing at the opponent with its claws, and lashing out at anything else in its way that got too close.
|“|| Initially known as the Sabre-Tooth Tiger, Smilodon, "Knife Tooth", is the most famous prehistoric cat of all time. Living in prides like modern lions, Smilodon was also known as the Kings of the Grasslands. Having originally been from North America, Smilodon ventured down to South America when it connected to North America after being separated from the rest of the world.
When Smilodon entered South America, they became among the apex predators of their time. Competed only by their rivals the Terror Birds as well as the Cave bears, Smilodon hunted anything from small deer to the large mammoths. And it was their saber-teeth that was their most famous attribute. Measuring 7-12 inches in length, the saber-teeth of Smilodon were sharp enough to pierce through the flesh of their prey, crush the jugular, and strangle the windpipe. With a single bite, their unfortunate prey was dead.
While the males did the inner-breed fighting, the females did almost all the hunting. When hunting in packs, female Smilodon spread out around their prey to hide in the tall grass. Once locking on their target, the erupted out of the grass at incredible speed coupled with impressive stamina, agility, and strength. Once they had their prey in their grasp, they brought it down together and used their saber teeth to finish them off. Females also cared a great deal for their cubs.
|— Allen's journal entry about Smilodon|
- Smilodon is the second species of prehistoric cat brought to the park. However, the primary species needed was S. populatar.
- The sound effects for Smilodon are the typical large cat roars, such as lion, tiger, and leopard.