The secret of saber-toothed cats: not all of them were vicious predators and preferred soft food

The secret of saber-toothed cats

The saber-toothed cats are an extinct cat family that is unjustifiably credited with the increased cruelty. This conclusion was reached by the researchers from the University of Bristol. One of the species of ancient saber-toothed animals - Smilodon fatalis, today belongs to the fossil species and has a reputation as a large cruel animal. Today, science knows about more than a hundred species of saber-toothed cats.

All of them were of different size and their cruelty is unjustified. Thylacosmilus is a species of saber-toothed cats that lived in Argentina for about 5 million years. The size of individuals of this species did not exceed the size of the jaguar.

They were a classic case of convergent evolution. Animals were similar in shape, despite different evolutionary relationships. But the differences were huge, ever-growing fangs. This fact led to the assumption that the animal was evil and tough, because its appearance frightened everyone. But was that species really cruel?

A researcher Christina Jenifes and her colleagues conducted a series of studies using a skull and teeth. According to the scientists, the fangs were really impressive. But the general anatomy of these animals does not explain the cruel behavior of the predators. So, it simply was not there.

For example, saber-toothed cats have almost no incisors, which today use tigers and lions to eat raw meat. In addition, the teeth were oddly triangular in shape, not flat as a blade. There are many other details that reject the fictional characterization of the belief that the saber-toothed cat was a fierce beast.

The species Thylacosmilus did not use its fangs to kill other animals. One of the assumptions that the scientists are inclined to, is associated with the presence of such teeth to open the carcasses. In addition to the mysterious lack of incisors, the scientists have found another anomaly.

The molars of these animals were small, they did not wear out, and that rejects the assumption of their nutrition by raw meat. The saber-toothed cats probably had a milder diet. About the same as feeding lions in captivity.