Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith

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Saber-Toothed Tiger

 ... with a 16-inch skull, probably weighing around 960 pounds in life, far larger than previous examples found.

The article raises a question whether they hunted in prides or alone.  There has been no evidence found for prides. 

However, it occurred to me that we may have  evidence stashed in some museum's closet.  People have found fossils of herbivores showing signs of predation.  All around the area where the sabertooth was found, people had turned up many bones of large herbivores.  So here's a study waiting to be done: take some calipers and ask museums to let you examine their fossils of contemporaneous large herbivores.  Caliper all the bite marks you find and attempt to match them to species.  It's not rare for a solitary hunter to be driver away by a pack of smaller hunters, but they can't do that to a pride of larger hunters.  If you only ever find only one set of sabertooth bite marks, or sabertooth plus smaller animals, that suggests they were solitary.  If you find a kill with multiple sabertooth bite marks -- especially different adults, not just one adult with cubs -- then that supports the pride hunter theory.  This study would be much cheaper and easier than trying to dig up new bones; an industrious college student could do it.

So if any of you know somebody who studies saberteeth, maybe ask if anyone has thought to do this yet.  Recent years have seen some very exciting finds turned up from museum storage.
Tags: history, nature, news, science, wildlife
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