A 16-Inch-Long Saber-Toothed Tiger Skull Discovered in Brazil
Thu, April 22, 2021

A 16-Inch-Long Saber-Toothed Tiger Skull Discovered in Brazil

 

Archaeological digs in Brazil during the 1980s had mostly uncovered large herbivores, often the size of a large truck. Thus, when an amateur fossil hunter named Ricardo Praderi turned over a huge fossil in September 1989, archaeologists were not surprised at first. However, further studies about the fossil have shocked researchers and debunked previous beliefs about the food chain in the prehistoric ecosystem.

 

Credits: All That’s Interesting

 

The fossil belonged to one of the biggest cats to ever walk the Earth, the Smilodon populator. It measured a whopping 16 inches in size, a measurement which effectively dwarfed previously found specimens -- which is by far the largest fossil of the big cat ever identified to date. This species lived during the Pleistocene era when the South American continent was home for other large predators like lions, jaguars, and Arctotherium, the biggest bear ever known. 

 

Credits: All That’s Interesting

 

A recent study published in the journal Alcheringa revealed that the Smilodon had a body size that could have possibly hunted prey that was much larger than them in the South American region. At first, Aldo Manzuetti, a doctoral student in paleontology at Uruguay’s University of the Republic, thought that he was doing something wrong in analyzing the specimen’s measurements. This is because the results showed that the animal could’ve been around 960 pounds. “I checked the results a lot of times, and only after doing that I realized I hadn’t made any mistakes,” he said. 

 

Credits: All That’s Interesting

 

According to All That’s Interesting, a site for curious people who want to know more about what they see on the news or read in history books, the findings showed that there’s some damage in the animal’s front skull, suggesting that it had been attacked by another saber-wielding animal. “If that is true, that is a fascinating finding. It’s a beautiful thing to look at… I just keep thinking of the power, and the potential things that this animal could have been doing out there in the ecosystem,” Margaret Lewis, a paleontologist at Stockton University in New Jersey who was not involved in the new study, said. 

 

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