Smilodon fatalis


  • Most of the fossils found show Smilodon fatalis to have short rear legs and strong front legs. This would indicate that they were most likely good jumpers and liked to surprise their prey (Schmieder 2000).

  • The three main species of Smilodon are Smilodon gracilis, Smilodon populator, and Smilodon fatalis. Smilodon gracilis was the oldest and smallest of the three, Smilodon populator was the largest of the three and resembled a modern day lion, and Smilodon fatalis was the most recent and seemed to be confined to the Americas (Turner 1997).

  • Scientists inferred that as a way to exert their presence in the habitat, Smilodon would spray urine or leave claw marks on trees. This was a way to ward off intruders from entering their domain. This behavior is prominent in all cats (Turner 1997).

  • There are fossils that showed signs of wounds in the shoulder and spine area. Scientists believe this may be a sign of fighting amongst Smilodon (Turner 1997).

  • Smilodon had relatively longer necks compared to other cats. This adaption was to help them reach vital areas of a prey more easily during a hunt (Turner 1997). 

  • There is a common misconception associated with the name "saber-tooth tiger." Smilodon are denoted as cats; however, they are not closely related to tigers (Turner 1997)

  • Smilodon is both singular and plural.

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