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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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About Saber-Tooth

Posted by WishbonE at 1:19 AM

Friday, January 23, 2009

Saber-toothed cats are some of the best known and most popular of all Ice Age animals. They are among the most impressive carnivores ever to have lived. The saber-toothed cat, distinguished by two large canine teeth which often reached a length of over 8 inches, lived in the last ice age which took place in the Pleistocene era dating from 1.5 million years ago to around 9 thousand years ago. These cats were the primary predators of that era and used their unique canines to pierce the soft tissue of their prey's soft underbelly area. Sabre-toothed cats were generally more robust than today's cats and were quite bear-like in build.

Two different types of saber-toothed cats lived in the midwestern U.S. at the end of the last Ice Age. One type was the familiar sabertooth, represented by the genus Smilodon. These cats had enlarged canines usually associated with the name sabertooth. Their canines were up to 18 centimeters (7 inches) long. The second type was the less familiar scimitar cat, represented by the genus Homotherium. Scimitar cats had shorter (only about 10 centimeters [4 inches] long) and flatter canines. Numerous skeletons of saber-tooths have been found with one or both of their large canine teeth broken off or splintered. This suggests that even though these teeth came in very handy for killing prey, they were brittle and easily damaged..especially when accidentally striking bone. Jamming these canines between the ribs of their prey and jerking back to rip open stomach cavities accounted for a large number of broken teeth. These cats were about 2/3rds the size of our present day Bengal tiger and had a skull which measured about 1 foot from the tip of the nose to just behind the ears. Other information about the saber-tooth is not available but it is known that this species roamed over North and South America. It is believed that the cat originated in North America and as the ice age advancedand became more severe, the saber-tooth migrated south towards warmer weather and more ample prey.

The sabertooth had short, powerful legs. These animals were not built to run fast or far. The sabertooth was probably an ambush hunter. It would have stalked its prey or attacked large animals from a hiding place. The scimitar cat had long forelimbs, a long neck, and relatively short, powerful hindlimbs. It seems to have combined strength with speed. It probably chased its prey more than did the sabertooth. Saber-toothed cats ranged throughout much of the world during the last Ice Age. The sabertooth has been recovered from many sites in both North and South America. The scimitar cat had an even wider distribution. It is known from Africa, Eurasia, and North America. Both the sabertooth and scimitar cat have been recovered in the midwestern U.S. Both types of saber-toothed cats went extinct approximately 11,500 years ago.

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