The adaptations that Barbourofelis fricki underwent can be found by looking at its classification. Barbourofelis fricki had true nuclei and membrane bound organelles. At some point in their life they had posterior cilia. They evolved to be multicellular organisms with true tissues. Their tissues were triploblastic meaning they had and endoderm, mesoderm, and an ectoderm. Visit the reproduction page to learn more about how the cells divided after fertilization. Barbourofelis fricki were deuterostomes meaning that their anus developed first during gastrulation. This organism developed bilateral symmetry and under went cephalization to end up with a head to house the brain and spinal cord for heightened senses. One of the defining features of chordata is that they have a notochord which for Barbourofelis fricki eventually turned into the spinal column. The notochord is the site of muscle attachment and support. Eyes, the ability to sense light, adapted before nervous systems.

Barbourofelis fricki developed features of mammals (EOL,2012). They were endothermic which better allowed them to maintain homeostasis but required a higher caloric intake of the mostly meat that they ate. Mammals are amniotes, they have amniotic fluid in the cavity that houses the developing organism. Most mammals give birth to their young (EOL,2012).  Mammals also have mammary glands which allow mature organisms to produce milk which they can feed to their young. Vertebrates are a group defined by modifications of the integumentary system which for Barbourofelis fricki included nails, hair, and glands.

Vertebrates have endoskeletons that undergo continuous growth with the organism. Barbourofelis fricki adapted to being meat eaters. The most distinctive adaptation was their teeth and of the family Barbourofeldae, Barbourofelis fricki had the most specialized upper teeth or deciduous upper canine tooth (Schultz et al. 1970). Two recognizable studies have been performed by J. R. MacDonald and Laurie MacDonald in the Journal of Paleontology on “Barbourofelis fricki from the Early Hemphillian of Nevada” which helped classify  Barbourofelis fricki and a study by Sharon B. Emerson and Leonard Radinsky in Paleontology on the “Functional Analysis of Sabertooth Cranial Morphology” which compares the skulls of sabretooth to non-sabertooth to figure out how they used their teeth. They say in the second study, “Functional Analysis of Sabertooth Cranial Morphology”, that:

    1) sabertooth morphology represents modification for wider gape with retention of a powerful bite force at the carnassial
    2) sabertooths probably used a throat or ventral neck slash to kill prey
    3) elongate canines and retractile claws may have facilitated the exploitation of relatively large prey by sabertooths compared to non-sabertooth carnivores

To learn more about how and what Barbourofelis fricki ate check out the nutrition page

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