Friday, February 28, 2014


The genus Machairodus is a little fuzzy on the species that it actually contains. Because the fossil record is incomplete, different extinct big cat species have been moved both in, and out of the genus. It also doesn't help that some of the species have been reclassified, combined, or moved to subspecies status... but such is the finicky nature of fossils!

At any rate, Machairodus refers to a group of very large cats, all of whom lived in North America between about 11 million, and 120,000 years ago.

These cats were of the "saber-toothed" variety, possessing long, thin, knife-like canine teeth. Those teeth, combined with their short legs, meant that they probably hunted by ambushing prey, rather than by chasing it down. Machairodus species are often draft with spots or stripes, since that coat pattern would've served them well as camouflage during their ambush hunts.

Status : Extinct, lived 11.6 million to 124,000 years ago
Location : North America
Size : Length up to 8ft (2.5m)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Mammalia -- Order : Carnivora
Family : Felidae -- Genus : †Machairodus
Image : Carnivora

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