The Saber Tooth Cat Was Very Buff


The Saber Tooth Cat Was Very BuffIt seems that the ancient saber tooth cat was a very muscular cat. Rather building up all these muscles as the grew, these saber-toothed kitties (Smilodon fatalis) were buff right from kittenhood and simply maintained its bulging muscles from that point – researchers are now telling us.

“The babies start off muscle-bound and then they grow like every other cat,” stated study researcher Donald Prothero, who is a research associate coming from the Department of Vertebrate Paleontology at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles County. [12 Amazing Saber-Toothed Animals]

Saber Tooth Cats Had an Amazing Physique

It is well known fact between paleontologists that S. fatalis — who is now extinct, but lived on the Earth from around 37,000 to 9,000 years ago — possessed an Arnold Schwarzenegger type body. This fierce cat had an extremely broad chest along with short, stout limbs, said the study leader Katherine Long, who is a master’s student in the Department of Geological Sciences at California State Polytechnic University.

“But we didn’t really know too much about their kittens,” Long explained to Live Science. “We just know [that] as adults, they were just really, really muscle-bound.”

In order to study these cat facts, Long had measured the circumference and length of around 200 limb bones which had been obtained from the La Brea Tar Pits in LA, an area from which asphalt seeps naturally to the surface. These limb bones had come from kitties all across different ages. As Long had the ability to develop a chart of growth for the species, which shows the way they had grown in length and robustness as they got older.

Saber Tooth Cat Bones were Compared to Bones of Other Big Cat Species

This is when Long as well as her colleagues began to compare the saber tooth cat growth chart along with the growth rates of other kitty species, which included the cougar (Puma concolor), the tiger (Panthera tigris), the American cave lion (Panthera atrox), the lion (Panthera leo), the wildcat (Felis silvestris) and the serval (Leptailurus serval). Data indicated that the saber tooth cat bones were much more robust and stronger than Panthera bones.

“It was interesting to see that although we have these really robust, huge [saber-toothed cat] animals, they are still growing just as delicately as a small jungle wildcat,” Long said.

This study is definitely a great start into learning how these saber tooth kittens lived and grew, but we know these is more work ahead for us, stated Julie Meachen, who is currently an assistant professor of anatomy and a vertebrate paleontologist at Des Moines University, but was not a part of this study.

For example, in order to learn how saber toothed kitties lived and grew, “you need internal measurements of the bones,” Meachen said. This can be accomplished using X-rays or even computed tomography (CT) scan of bones from the cats that illuminates the region of bone marrow located within. With this, scientists can get a much more reliable idea of the actual cross sectional region of the hard bone which supported the cats’ massive weight.

“If you take cross-sectional area from just diameter, basically you’re modeling the limb as a solid beam, which is not the case at all,” Meachen stated. “So, it’s giving you a false sense of the ability of the bone.”

Nonetheless, these findings are a great place to start to learn more about the growth of saber tooth kitties.

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