Dr. Gillaspy has taught health science at University of Phoenix and Ashford University and has a degree from Palmer College of Chiropractic.
What is a Saber Tooth Tiger?
Imagine going for a walk and running into an animal with 12-inch-long teeth! Yikes! Fortunately, this animal, known as the saber tooth tiger no longer exists. This prehistoric cat-like animal died off about 10,000 years ago at the end of the last Ice Age. What we know about the saber tooth tiger has been gathered by scientists that study animal fossils. These scientists are called paleontologists.
What Did Saber Tooth Tigers Look Like?
Saber tooth tigers were prehistoric animals that may have had some similarities to modern-day cats, like retractable claws.
Paleontologists can't be sure what color they were, but they can guess how big saber tooth tigers were based on fossils. It's thought that saber tooth tigers were short and muscular and, depending on the type, could weigh from about 120 pounds up to nearly 900 pounds!
The most impressive features of a saber tooth tiger were the two long sharp canine teeth coming out of its top jaw. A saber is another name for a sword, so you can see how the saber tooth got its name. Paleontologists don't think saber tooth tigers used these long teeth for chewing; instead, they used them as spears to stab their prey.
What Did They Eat?
Saber tooth tigers were carnivores, which means that ate meat. The meat sources that would have been available to a saber tooth tiger would have included prehistoric animals, such as prehistoric deer, bison, and young woolly mammoths.
Where Did They Live?
Saber tooth tigers lived and hunted in packs. The strong animals would go out and do the hard work of hunting, and then bring back the catch to feed the young and old members of the pack.
Fossil records show that saber tooth tigers lived in many continents around the world, but there's no evidence that they lived in Australia or Antarctica. Fossils have been found in North and South America with a large collection of saber tooth tiger fossils having been uncovered in the La Brea Tar Pits near Los Angeles California.
What Happened to the Saber Tooth Tiger?
Scientists think that changes in the climate associated with the last Ice Age wiped out much of the saber tooth tiger's food source, making survival difficult. It's also thought that early humans may have hunted saber tooth tigers, helping to push the species to extinction.
Paleontologists have found fossils of saber tooth tiger that show they died off about 10,000 years ago, which was near the end of the last Ice Age. Saber tooth tigers had two long sharp canine teeth that they used to stab their prey. Saber tooth tigers lived in packs, and many fossils have been found in the La Brea Tar Pits near Los Angeles California.
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