|“||Smilodon, the fable and famous Saber-Tooth Cat. The most powerful big cat of all time and the most famous prehistoric and extinct cat!||„|
|— Allen, about Smilodon|
Smilodon (meaning "Knife Tooth"), more famously known as "The Sabre-Tooth Cat" as well as originally and mistakenly called "The Sabre-Tooth Tiger", was the biggest and most powerful sabre-toothed cat of all time, and defiantly the most famous prehistoric cat. They were giant sabre-toothed cats from the Pleistocene period recognized for their large sabre teeth.
Smilodon was between 100 to 500 kg depending on the species, which there was several. Saber-Tooth Cats are the most famous of all prehistoric felines. They were predators, with sabre teeth, as their name suggests. These teeth are both enlarged upper canines and enlarged incisors. It is a 250 kg predator that in one form crossed the land bridge from North America to South America, becoming even larger in the South American version. They lived in South America from 2.5 Million Years Ago to 10,000 Years Ago. Originally from North America, Smilodon came to South America 2 MYA and replaced the native hunters, Phorusrhacos, as top predators.
Smilodon was an apex predator that seems to have ousted the native 'Terror Bird' Phorusrhacids (though some would rather fairly think that the largest were evenly matched with any Smilodon, with savage hooked beaks, talons and being 3 meters tall and able to run at 50 mph and more). It is possible that the Smilodon were wiped out by humans, along with many megafaunal animals.
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 a 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.
Although it was their original name, there is now 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. The largest, at over 300 kilograms, is Smilodon, which means "Knife Tooth".
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.
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.
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.