Tiarajudens: Over 265 Million Years of Sabertooths
The way people have been talking about Tiarajudens eccentricus, you would think that this 265 million year old cousin of ours was unique among herbivores for having saber-fangs. It was not, but it does raise the question of what makes a saber-tooth in the first place.
Over fifty million years before Tiarajudens, there was a great evolutionary split among small, lizard-like vertebrates. On the one side were the early diapsids – the starting point for the full diversity of reptiles – and on the other were the early synapsids; a group of unfamiliar creatures that underwent a major evolutionary radiation before the time of the dinosaurs and, today, is represented entirely by mammals. Since the anomodonts were one of