Sabre-toothed cat punctured skull of rival with its canine teeth

This is a cool picture. It shows what palaeontologists believed happened between some rival sabre-toothed cats during the time they inhabited the planet from 40 million to about 11,000 years ago. The large canine tooth of one cat is shown piercing the top of the skull of the other, killing the rival.

Sabre-toothed cat's canine tooth pierces skull of another cat. Photo: Dr. Nicolas R. Chimento
Sabre-toothed cat’s canine tooth pierces skull of another cat. Photo: Dr. Nicolas R. Chimento
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The picture is of a created situation because these skulls were not found like this except the lower skull does have a hole in it suggesting that this is how it happened.

The canine teeth of the sabre-toothed cat are so long that palaeontologists believe that they were too fragile to be of great use but they seem to have changed their minds having seen skulls with neat teeth-shaped holes in them.

It seems that this cat’s extraordinarily large canine teeth were an evolutionary adoption to killing large prey but because they were so specialist they were vulnerable to extinction. When large prey became scarce or extinct the sabre-toothed cat followed. They were unable to adapt to smaller prey or eat other sources of food.

It is believed that the large prey hunted by this cat were: elephants, rhinos, huge herbivores. The teeth were able to reach large blood vessels deep in the prey’s body. But as mentioned it is also possible that the teeth were robust enough to puncture a skull.

The modern day jaguar’s bite is hard enough and the teeth strong enough to picture the skulls of its prey and even the carapace of turtles.

P.S. The name ‘sabre-toothed tiger‘ is incorrect as this animal is not part of the family of cats which includes the tiger. The word ‘cat’ is also not strictly correct but is used for convenience. It is all a question of how this species of animal is classified (taxonomy).

2 thoughts on “Sabre-toothed cat punctured skull of rival with its canine teeth”

  1. I was going to say kudos for not saying tiger, but you beat me to it. As I recall it’s mostly a matter of the fact that we’re more familiar with what we’ve classified as tigers and other big cats who have lived along side us and aren’t or may not be direct cousins of those prior animals. Something like that.


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