Not Your Average Cat
Fossil records show that saber-toothed cats once roamed most of the globe. They thrived during the ice age and disappeared around the time the Ice Age drew to a close.There was not just one kind of saber-toothed cat, but several different sorts of cats with long, knife-like canine teeth. Some were very large like the lions and tigers of today while others were smaller like bobcats. While they are listed under the scientific classification of Felidae just like modern cats, they are believed to have been quite different from modern cats and have no modern descendants.
The most well-known of the saber-toothed cats is called Smilodon. This cat is often mistakenly referred to as a saber-toothed “tiger,” but it actually has no relation to the modern tiger. Scientists say that it’s body proportions and walk would have more closely resembled that of a bear. Smilodon was about the height of a modern African lion, but about twice the weight (heavily muscled) with proportionally shorter limbs. This cat also had a bobbed-tail. There would have been very few differences in look between males and females. Smilodon’s signature canine teeth were about 7 inches (18 cm) long and its mouth was capable of opening to an amazing 90 degree angle in order to use them. However, most of the Smilodon’s biting power was in its muscular neck, the biting strength of its jaw was only about a third of what a modern lion’s biting strength is.
To learn more about the saber-toothed cats, please read my article A Look at the Saber-Toothed Cat.
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- Words from the word list on the right are hidden within the puzzle. The words may be spelled forward, backward, or on a diagonal.
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One of Smilodon’s favorite foods was bison. Is your kitty a fan of buffalo?