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It's Smilodon, better known as the fable and famous Saber-Tooth Cat, its literal meaning is "knife tooth." They're up to three meters long, have saber-teeth, hunt in packs, and are ruthless predators. Fast, elegant, it's a real-natural born killer, they are the most powerful big cat of all time and the most famous prehistoric and extinct cat!
— Allen, about Smilodon

Smilodon (name meaning "Knife Tooth"), also called "The Sabre-Tooth Cat", as well as previously and mistakenly called "The Sabre-Tooth Tiger", is a genus of large predatory sabre-toothed cat, in fact the largest and most powerful sabre-toothed cat of all time, and defiantly the most famous prehistoric cat (recognized for their two large, sabre-like teeth, as their name suggests) that lived during the Pleistocene epoch.

It is a 2.5-3 meter long, 100 to 500 kg predator (depending on the species) originally from North America that in one form crossed the land bridge from North America and came to South America, becoming even larger in the South American version. It was an apex predator that seems to have replaced the native 'Terror Bird' Phorusrhacos as top predators (though some would rather fairly think that the largest were evenly matched with any Smilodon, with savage hooked beaks, talons and being 3 metres tall and able to run at 50 mph and more).

The sabre-teeth are enlarged upper canines. The genus includes the well-known North American species Smilodon fatalis, found in large numbers in the La Brea tar pits, but the largest species is S. populator from South America. Saber-Tooth Cats are the most famous of all prehistoric felines. It is possible that the Smilodon were wiped out by humans along with many megafaunal animals.

FactsEdit

Era & DiscoveryEdit

Smilodon lived during the Pleistocene over 3 million years ago, sharing its environment with other mammals, such as Macrauchenia, Megatherium, Phorusrhacos, Toxodon, and even the mighty Woolly Mammoth. About 3 million years ago, Sabre–Tooth Cats were once the top predators in North America. Originally from North America, they came to South America 2 million years later and the balance of life in South America changed as they became and took over the role as the top predators.

As they spread down to South America, they were fast taking over from Phorusrhacos. Smilodon were fierce enough to terrorize the Terror Birds. Smilodon were very successful predators, among the top predators of the Ice Age, and survived up until as recently as 10,000 years ago. Overtime, the world around them changed too much: the climate became cooler and drier and the larger prey they specialized in killing disappeared. The sabre-tooth world came to an end. Smilodon was first discovered in 1842 by Peter Wilhelm Lund.

Physical AttributesEdit

Although it was their original name, there is no such thing as a Sabre Tooth Tiger. The correct name for these beasts is Sabre Tooth Cats and there have been many different species. At around 100 kilograms, the smallest is S. gracilis, whereas the largest, at over 500 kilograms, is S. populator. Additionally, S. fatalis is somewhere in the middle. Powerfully built, it possessed large, deadly sabre-teeth which it used to kill its prey by crushing its throat, and it was capable of running at immense speeds of approximately 30 kilometres per hour.

Their sabre teeth are awe–inspiring. And paleontologists are fairly certain about how Smilodon used them. One devastating bite to the throat of their prey and their saber-teeth sliced through all the major blood vessels, simultaneously severing the blood supply and the jugular, and therefore crushed and strangled the windpipe. That meant the prey couldn't attack back, couldn't kick them with hooves, couldn't injure them at all. One bite, and the prey was dead. Those Sabre–Teeth were a really ingenious killing technique, but only when the prey was totally subdued are the famous sabres drawn. They were extraordinary precise and accurate tools for killing.

But these were the original double–edged swords. The lethal 20 centimeter sabres were actually quite fragile. They cannot bite into bone and so Smilodon could only eat the fleshier parts of a carcass. It's those huge incisor teeth which makes the Sabre Tooth Cat such a successful, specialized killer.

Behavior & TraitsEdit

Some scientist today theorize that Smilodon lived a lot like modern lions do today. For example, Smilodon lived in tightly–knit clans. Male Sabre Tooth's could take over clans at the age of four years, the females did 90% of the hunting, and males doing most of the inner-breed fighting. Though they typically hunted in packs, a lone Smilodon was just as dangerous as a pack of them. Like many predators, they would typically go for easy prey and would pick off any who strayed from the group.

Smilodon also used similar techniques as lions to hunt prey. Females had really stocky front legs and that's because of the large animals, like Toxodon and Macrauchenia, that they had to bring down. Smilodon had those big front legs and those massive teeth.

When hunting, the females hunted together as a pack, inching forward to set the trap. They could stalk herds of animals for up to two hours. Gradually, they fanned out with the lead female moving wide – trying to encircle their prey. Smilodon were powerful killers and these cats were able to accelerate explosively at amazing bursts of speed, but like all cats, only over a short distance as they were not built for long chases. Unless they got close, they didn't stand a chance. Even one false move and they would have to start all over again.

Once they charged at their prey, Smilodon erupted out of the grass. The lead female drove the prey towards the other females. Surprisingly, as the cats fight to restrain their prey, they do not use their infamous teeth, in case they break them. First they work together to pin down the struggling animal under the weight of their bodies. Only when the prey is totally subdued are the famous sabres drawn. But these were the original double–edged swords. The lethal 20 centimeter sabres were actually quite fragile. They cannot bite into bone and so Smilodon could only eat the fleshier parts of a carcass. It's those huge incisor teeth which makes the Sabre Tooth such a successful, specialized killer.

Like some modern-day species of big cat, Smilodons would gnaw on the bones of their prey. But when fighting against more capable and defensive prey or opponents, Smilodon would instead go into an extremely wild, uncontrolled, dangerous and unpredictable battle frenzy; madly slashing at the opponent with its claws, and lashing out at anything else in its way that got too close.

Journal Entry Edit

Initially known as the Sabre-Tooth Tiger, Smilodon, "Knife Tooth", is the most famous prehistoric cat of all time. Living in prides like modern lions, Smilodon were also known as the Kings of the Grasslands. Having originally been from North America, Smilodon ventured down to South America when it connected to North America after being separated form the res of the world.

When Smilodon entered South America, they became among the apex predators of their time. Competed only by their rivals the Terror Birds as well as the Cave bears, Smilodon hunted anything from small deer to the large mammoths. And it was their sabre-teeh that was their most famous attribute. Measuring 7-12 inches in length, the sabre-teeth of Smilodon were sharp enough to pierce through the flesh of their prey, crush the jugular, and strangle the windpipe. With a single bite, their unfortunate prey was dead.

While the males did the inner-breed fighting, the females did almost all the hunting. When hunting in packs, female Smilodon spread out around their prey the hide in the tall grass. Once locking on their target, the erupted out of the grass at incredible speed coupled with impressive stamina, agility, and strength. Once they had their prey in their grasp, they brought it down together. Females also cared a great deal for their cubs.

— Allen's journal entry about Smilodon

GalleryEdit