A Living Sabertooth
The last of the great sabercats died out with the close of the Ice Age. Their disappearance ended 23 million years of cats with impressively long canines. So long, Smilodon. Hasta la vista, Homotherium. But these fierce felids weren’t the only animals to evolve saber fangs.
Long before the fierce felids were creodonts – a totally extinct group of mammalian carnivores – and the earliest true sabercats, known as machairodonts by researchers, overlapped in time with more closely-related pseudo-cats called nimravids. There was even a marsupial sabertooth named Thylacosmilus. Yet, whether creodont or marsupial, nimravid or machairodont, paleontologists have struggled to understand sabertoothed predators because these carnivores left no descendants. For the first time in millions of years, our world is