Saber-toothed tiger Facts

Saber-toothed tiger Facts
Saber-toothed tiger (Smilodon) is one of the most popular prehistoric mammals that once lived in North and South America. It was dominant predator on the grassland plains and open woodlands during the Pleistocene (from 2.5 million years - 10.000 years ago). As a result of climate changes and lack of food (extinction of large herbivores), saber-toothed tiger vanished from the planet at the end of the Ice Age, 10.000 years ago.
Interesting Saber-toothed tiger Facts:
Saber-toothed tiger was slightly shorter, but much heavier compared with a modern lion. It was able to reach 79 to 98 inches in length and 150 to 661 pounds of weight.
Despite its name, saber-toothed tiger was not a true tiger. This prehistoric animal is only distantly related to modern lions, cheetahs and tigers.
Saber-toothed tiger was covered with thick coat that had been probably yellowish-beige colored, like in lions.
Saber-toothed tiger had thick neck, broad chest, muscular body, short, thick legs and short tail, but it is best known by its large, 7 to 12 inches long, curved canine teeth.
Researchers have recently discovered that teeth of saber-toothed tiger had at least 2 times faster growth rate compared with canine teeth of modern species of wild cats (saber-toothed tiger was able to replace its milk teeth and develop fully grown canine teeth until the age of 3 years).
Saber-toothed tiger had very thick front legs that were used to immobilize the prey and to prevent it to fight back and potentially break its precious, but brittle canine teeth. Saber-toothed tiger used canine teeth to kill its prey by slicing the jugular vein and windpipe.
Deer, horses, camels, bison and young mammoths were favorite type of food of saber-toothed tigers.
Skulls of prehistoric people with wounds that match elongated canine teeth suggest that saber-toothed tigers occasionally hunted primitive humans.
Saber-toothed tiger was an ambush predator that waited its victims hidden in the trees.
Despite its huge canine tooth, saber-toothed tiger had weak bite force, only 1/3 of the bite force of modern lion. However, its jaws were able to stretch to 120 degrees, two time more than jaws of lion.
Saber-toothed tigers were probably social animals. They were able to roar loudly thanks to the hyoid bone in the mouth.
Saber-toothed tiger didn't have natural enemies, but it had to compete for food with American lion, dire wolf, lynx and puma.
Spring was the most probable period of year reserved for the mating of saber-toothed tigers. Researchers suggest that pregnancy probably lasted around 8 months. Like in modern wild cats, cubs were probably blind and helpless at birth.
Exact lifespan of saber-toothed tiger is unknown. Scientists believe that is was able to survive 20 to 40 years.
More than 130.000 bones of saber-toothed tiger have been found in the Le Brea Tar Pits in the Los Angeles so far.

Related Links:
Extinct Animals Facts
Animals Facts