Was Smilodon a prehistoric can-opener?
A Smilodon fends off vultures at what would later be called the Rancho La Brea tar pits, situated in Los Angeles, California. Painting by Charles R. Knight.
The feeding habits of saber-toothed cats have long perplexed scientists. How in the world did these cats kill prey with their almost comically-oversized teeth? Did Smilodon and its kin use their teeth like daggers to stab prey to death, or did they simply rip out a huge chunk of flesh from the side of a victim, leaving their prey to hemorrhage to death?
While the stabbing hypothesis has generally been abandoned it is still a mystery how sabercats used their immense canines, especially since there were three different types of