JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JOE TUCCIARONE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sabre-toothed cat. Artwork of a sabre-toothed cat (Smilodon sp.). This powerful carnivore was close to the size of a large modern tiger, and lived in North and South America during the Upper Pleistocene (about one million years ago). The upper canine teeth of this cat were vast in size, sharp, and shaped like backward-curving daggers. Its skeleton was robust, and it had retractable claws. It was capable of hunting down even the large elephant-like animals of the Pleistocene. When these animals died out, the sabre- toothed cats died out as well, no longer able to sustain themselves without their large prey.
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