Smilodon the Vampire
Aside from the woolly mammoth, no Pleistocene creature is more iconic than Smilodon. The vanished sabercat is a symbol of North America’s recently lost megafauna, but it’s also an Ice Age mystery. While the carnivore broadly resembled other felids – a cat is a cat is a cat – the predator’s fangs have confounded paleontologists for over a century. The sabercat’s impressive canines have been envisioned as slicing and stabbing weapons in multiple attack scenarios, including an offhand comment that cast Smilodon as a vampire.
Even though the literature of Smilodon and its awful gape grows with every passing year, John Merriam and Chester Stock’s 1932 monograph The Felidae of Rancho La Brea remains the essential reference on the famous asphalt