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Ancient marsupial sabertooth had eyes like no other mammal predator

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Despite having eyes as wide-set as a cow's and surprisingly long upper-canine teeth with roots tunneling deep into its skull, the "marsupial sabertooth" proved to be an effective carnivore, a new study finds.

This ferocious marsupial is an extinct mammal from South America scientifically known as Thylacosmilus atrox. Scientists from Argentina and the United States examined computed tomography (CT) scans of the skulls of three of the large predators, which would have weighed roughly 220 pounds (100 kilograms) and went extinct about 3 million years ago. The team noticed that the animal's odd cranial anatomy stood out compared with other carnivores, such as dogs and cats, whose eyes are more forward-facing to help them track prey, according to the study published Tuesday (March 21) in the journal Communications Biology.


Seeing through the eyes of the sabertooth Thylacosmilus atrox


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