Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.
Aldous Huxley, "Proper Studies", 1927
Posted 01 February 2006 - 10:41 PM
The smilodon could open its mouth a full 90 degrees compared to the 70 degrees of modern cats thus the teeth never outgrew the animals bite. The back edges were also serrated which would be ideal for thick hided animals which would have been their prey. They would shatter on bone though, so soft parts were a must. The group hunter theory holds sway right now because many Smilodon bones showed extensive healing from crippling bone breaks. This would imply that even when unable to hunt the pride (for lack of a better term) would allow them to feed. Hunting was probably singling out an animal and sending it towards awaiting ambush. It's body structure is certainly not suitable for long chases. As for where it would attack, it would be likely that if they were group hunters biting would going on at both neck and underbelly where opportunity presented itself. Modern cats such as lions have no problem jumping on the sides, hindquarters or biting the bellies of water buffalo many times their weight and though the occasional trampling does take place most lions are no worse for the wear. Surviving rib bones of mammoths have shown healed furrows that fit Smilodon teeth perfectly, this is also a strong argument for group hunting as it seems unlikely a single hunter would go after such a large animal. The healing also rules out scavenging (which unhealed teeth marks on bone obviously do not) in that instance. Research is ongoing though.
"Come down off the cross, we could use the wood." - Tom Waits
actually, studies have shown they are built more like grizzly bears than modern cats. and that they have a 1/2 feline and 1/2 canine running posture. i believe that they do hunt in packs like modern lions today..i mean prides.. whatever you call it. I saw some discovery channel show on a lion pride in namibia i think that was hunting elephants in the dry season. taking down juveniles and even trying and almost succeeding in bringing down an adult female. had the lions have the sabres of the smilodon, the teeth would have been large enough to penetrate the skin of the pachyderm. i believe the long sabres are designed to penetrate thru the wooly hide and thick skin of it's large slower moving prey. and that they smilodons died out because they are just not built to catch faster prey for they are designed more like bears than cats and that unlike bears, they are true carnivores and cannot sustain themselves on berries and other vegetation matterr like bears. im sure smilodons would have survived till today had their prey item too survived also.
and that they smilodons died out because they are just not built to catch faster prey for they are designed more like bears than cats and that unlike bears,
I dont think they died out because of that, but more due to human intervention. of humans killing vast mammoths and such, untill one day the mammoth population was so low the smilodons literally starved to extinction.
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sabretooths are specialist hunters while todays cats are generalist hunters. while sabretooth are built more for power to wrestle enormous prey to the ground, the lions and tigers of today has both power and speed to catch large and smaller prey. simply put.. sabretooth was out competed in the long run. once the large mammoths are what not died out from climate change and human hunting (which probably cannot account for the main reason of their extinction), the slower running smilodons just cannot catch any smaller preys..sure they can chase away some wolves and hyenas from their kills once in a while.. but that only slow down their inevitable fate.... they are either too awkward to climb trees to steal leopard kills.. or able to claim the kills from a pride of cave lions... impressive teeth..impressive build.. but not as adaptable in the end.