South America Gets Two More Sabercats
How does one go about selling a sabercat skeleton? This was the question the Argentinean naturalist Francisco Javier Muñiz asked Charles Darwin in a letter sent on August 30, 1846.
Almost one year previously, in the pages of the Gaceta Mercantil, Muñiz published a detailed description of a nearly-complete saber-toothed cat skeleton. The article’s title proclaimed it as the “Muñi-felis bonaerensis”, and Muñiz believed that the creature was unlike any fossil mammal found in South America before. “I am the first, in the account that follows,” Muñiz wrote, “to recommend [the skeleton] to the attention of savants dedicated to examining these witnesses and victims of terrible, devastating catastrophes.”
Muñiz wasn’t entirely right about the uniqueness of his find – a few