Following its favorite snack, the woolly mammoth, it was said north American scimitar toothed cats may have migrated across the bering land bridge and spread throughout north America.
Discovery was by the famous French paleontologist Baron Cuvier, in 1824. He was the first to describe the serrated teeth of homotherium from deposits in France, thinking they belonged to a bear, or something else. They had less fossils than there cousins the sabre tooth cats, and it was believed they originated from them somehow, or, other cat beasts millions of years ago. Emilio Fabrini proposed the name homotherium in 1890. Translated in greek as ‘same beast’.
In north American, around 1893, the scimitar cat was first described by E.D. Cope as dinobastis serus. Its remains, from deposits dating between about 1.5 million and 10,000 years old, are known from Yukon to Florida. By 1962, they had adopted homotherium serum.
There is little doubt the “same beasts, or scimitars”, like sabre tooth cats, were derived from the late pliocene – early pleistocene (about 2 million years). And in turn, derived from machairodus, even longer ago.
Biology: 6 feet and 300 pounds?
Modern lions are similar size to scimitar but without the slender limbs. “same beasts” had 4 inch wide serrated teeth to inflict wounds. And, unlike there sabre tooth cousins teeth, which may have been a sexual attraction in finding mates, there shorter wider, finely serrated teeth, made a more powerful slicing tool. They had long legs, and sloping back. It allowed scimitar to travel up to 65km/h. See enlarged nose and nostrils? These cats were sneaky, sensory killing machines.
Actual skeletons of ‘same beasts’ suggests that h. serum is built for short bursts of speed, as well as agility. The first neck of the vertebra helped to support there massive muscles used to depress the head and teeth to inflict a killing bite. The pelvic region, including the sacral vertebrae, are bear-like. As is the short tail composed of 13 vertebrae. About half the number in long-tailed cats. Such features suggest ambushing and coming from behind.
Gassaway fissure and Friesenhahn caves:
The recovery adults and there cubs from caves in Texas and Tennessee suggest these animals lived in dens, possibly in family groups. This is further supported by the association of multiple mastodons found inside them. And, unlike dens of some of the other cat like species like sabretooths, mountain lions and others.
Did u see a scimitar cave den?
A partly dis-articulated skeleton of a juvenile, found with two complete adult skeletons, from Gassaway Fissure, Tennessee, estimated to have been 2 to 4 months old at death, probably represents a cub born in a denning cave.
Of great interest, were between 300 and 400 juvenile mammoths found in the caves. The majority were just 2-year olds. probably such calves became easy prey for scimitar cats. Indeed, the association of scimitars, homotherium or “same beasts” with proboscideans (elephants and mastodons) and rhino remains constant. It reinforces the idea that ‘same beasts or scimitars’ preyed selectively on these tough-skinned animals. As well long nose peccary’s, and turtles which were found in Texas, these “same beasts” would probably take down anything smaller than a young mastodon or rhino. Given the meal size, it could last there family weeks, or more.
What is a scimitar hunt?
Picture a grassy parkland like environment where mammoth or prey are usually found. Leaving its cave shelter or den, from stalking, the felid cat beast approaches a small heard of mammoths. After crouching behind small juniper tree brushes, it selectively finds its prey. A young 2 year old columbian mammoth playing slowly at distance from the pack. So starts a blindsidingly quick rush alongside the mammoth calf (pic). The cat jump attacks, snowballing its prey over, its deep claws pierce the shoulder of the mammoth so bad it is screaming. Straddling the chest of the crying woolly calf, the beast cat slashes the exposed mammoths neck with its scimitars. Immediately the child mammoths mother, and rest of the herd move forward, trumpeting towards action. Within minutes the mammoth calf quickly bleeds to death, while the ‘cat beast” retreats to cover nearby. When the herd finally abandons the young mammoth kill, the cat cautiously approaches, dragging the body in its powerful jaws, into its cave. There it dismembers and eats its prey, shearing and breaking down large chunks of flesh with its fangs and gulping them down. Only its baby teeth and its limb bone sockets are left, with telltale scratches and marks left to commemorate the scimitar cats killing power.
Bibliography: American Scimitar Cat”. Yukon Beringia Interpretive Center. Retrieved 19 February 2018.
The scimitar cat was the second largest feline species to live in Yukon during the Ice Age (after the Beringian lion) — weighing in around 200 kilograms.
Fabrini, E. (1890). “I Machairodus (Meganthereon) del Val d’Arno superiore”. Bollettino Comitato Geologico d’Italia (in Italian). 21: 121–144, 161–177, esp. 176.
R. L. (February 1891). “III.—Dr. E. Fabrini on Machærodus – Machærodus (Meganthereon) del Valdarno Superiore, Memoria del Dott. Emilio Fabrini (Boll. R. Com. Geol. 1890 Nos. 3–6, pp. 43, pls. 3.)”. Geological Magazine. 8 (2): 82. Bibcode:1891GeoM….8…82R. doi:10.1017/S0016756800185498. S2CID248538425.
Social life of extinct sabre-toothed cat revealed by ancient DNA. (2020, October 15). New Scientist. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2257509-social-life-of-extinct-sabre-toothed-cat-revealed-by-ancient-dna