SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sabre-toothed cat skull. Hands holding the fossilised skull of a sabre-toothed cat (Smilodon sp.). This powerful carnivore was around the size of a large modern tiger, and lived in North and South America during the Upper Pleistocene epoch (around one million to 11,000 years ago). The upper canine teeth of this cat (seen here) were long, sharp, and shaped like backwards-curving daggers. It also had a robust skeleton, which allowed it to capture and kill large elephant- like animals, common in the Pleistocene. When these prey animals disappeared the sabre- toothed cat died out, as it could no longer sustain itself.
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