The saber-toothed cat is an ancient extinct species that has been considered a scientific myth for some time. But the scientists were able to find not only an evidence of its existence, but confirmed the fact that it was a deadly animal that lived during the Pleistocene. It was as famous animal of a bygone era as the woolly mammoth and the giant land sloth. The science confirmed that saber-toothed cats became extinct before the end of the last ice age.
Over the past twenty years, saber-toothed cats have also been the subject of many research projects. The scientists from the University of Copenhagen were able to study the nuclear genome of a saber- toothed cat and map it for the first time in history.
In the course of the study, they identified animal genes selected by evolutionary processes to continue the development of that species. Saber-toothed cats had a distinct genetic makeup, indicating that they were great hunters. The cats had excellent eyesight and complex social behaviors. They had a genetic adaptation to strong bones, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, which indicates their endurance. They hunted in packs, driving their prey to the point of exhaustion.
The DNA analysis was carried out thanks to the found fossil remains of an ancient animal. They were extracted from permafrost deposits near Dawn City in Canada. The date of the animals' habitation was determined by the method of radiocarbon dating. It turned out that the fossilized remains of a saber-toothed cat are at least 47.5 thousand years old.
Genome sequencing techniques were then applied to map the entire genome. During the process, the scientists compared the genome of the saber-toothed cat with the genomes of modern feline species such as tigers, lions, identifying similarities and comparisons.
The scientists suggest that the population of saber-toothed cats was very large, and ordinary modern cats still retain some individual characteristics of their distant ancestors.