Smilodon fatalis—Sabertooth // Smilodon gracilis—Gracile Sabertooth // Xenosmilus sp.—Strange Cats
Smilodon fatalis appears to be absent from the core of our region. This may, of course, be a matter of sampling error. The pattern suggests limitation to the Great Plains in our region, though it certainly is not constrained to grasslands elsewhere. Kurtén and Anderson (1980) report that at the time of their writing, there were more than 40 Rancholabrean sites and that records occur as far south as Peru in South America. They do note, however, that cave finds are relatively rare.
Christiansen and Harris (2005) estimate that body mass ranged from 160 kg (352 lbs) to 280 kg (616 lbs), comparable to that of the Siberian Tiger.
The taxon is well known from ample material recovered from the Rancho La Brea tar pits.
Rancholabrean: Twenty Five Mile Stream (Morgan and Lucas 2005).
Late Wisconsin: Blackwater Loc. No. 1 (Lundelius 1972).
Christiansen and Harris 2005; Kurtén and Anderson 1980; Lundelius 1972; Morgan and Lucas 2005.
Smilodon gracilis is a relatively poorly known sabertooth that may have given rise to S. fatalis (Kurtén and Anderson 1980). A single specimen (Fig. 1) is known from the region.
The suggested size of this sabertooth was roughly that of modern jaguars at 55-100 kg (121-220 lbs) (Christiansen and Harris 2005).
Fig. 1. Right dentary of Smilodon gracilis, UTEP 97-2.
Late Blancan: Mesilla Basin Fauna B (Morgan and Lucas 2003).
Literature. Christiansen and Harris 2005; Kurtén and Anderson 1989; Morgan and Lucas 2003.
Late Blancan: San Simon Fauna (Morgan and White 2005).
Morgan and White 2005.
Last Update: 13 Mar 2011