COUNCIL CHRONICLE – Felines are known for their slender build that affords them the strength and agility needed to catch prey and escape from dangerous situations.
Not all members of the cat family fit this profile though, as evidenced by the growth patterns of some extinct saber-toothed cat species. Available evidence has revealed some surprising facts about the size and shape of these muscle-strapped predators that roamed the Earth some thousands of years ago.
The Unexpected Proportions of the Saber-Toothed Kitten
The world was an incredibly different place 10,000 years ago, so the saber-toothed cat had to deal with a variety of prey and predators that modern-day cats don’t. In fact, the cats living in North America were faced with bear-liked carnivores similar to a grizzly.
They also had to hold their own against packs of wolf-sized canines, according to the Florida Museum of Natural History. This means the saber-toothed hunters couldn’t rely on stealth and speed alone to survive. They would have also needed strong limb and torso muscles as well.
Scientists studying the preserved bones of saber-tooth specimens believe that the species produced more robust cubs. One that most likely differed from the conventional feline body structure. Even though the saber-tooth kitten remains studied by the researchers were markedly different from those of modern-day cats, the robust cubs still showed all of the signs of typical feline growth patterns.
Some members of the scientific community theorize that this adaptation provided the cats with the power to grapple with large prey. In doing so, this also broke some of the limitations typically found in feline predators.
Saber-toothed cats serve as a powerful and majestic icon for the many species that went extinct before the development of taxonomy and biology. Even though the last of these animals passed away long ago, they are still an object of fascination and study by the scientific community. Nonetheless, there is a lot of knowledge that can still be gained about extinct species. This was especially evidenced by the recent discoveries concerning the saber-tooth adult and kitten body structure.
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