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Smilodon, commonly known as a saber-toothed cat or more inaccurately, the 'saber-toothed tiger', is an extinct carnivorous mammal that lived that lived through the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs. It is the largest and most famously known species of predatory felines called the Saber-toothed cats, with its fangs reaching a foot long.[2] Smilodon was been known to ambush big and slow animals and able to pin them down to the ground and used its saber teeth to bite at the neck of the prey.

Smilodon belonged to a subfamily within Felidae named Machairodontinae, a now entirely extinct group with no living members. At least 3 species are known: S. populator (the type species that was first discovered), S. fatalis, and S. gracilis. Smilodon gracilis is the smallest and oldest, roughly the size of a modern leopard and ancestral to the other two. Smilodon fatalis is the later, chiefly North American species, growing upwards of 280 kilograms (600 lbs) for larger individuals. Smilodon populator is the later South American species that was the largest feline to ever exist with one individual known to be over 470 kilograms (1,040 lbs).

All three species were specialists at hunting herbivores multiple times larger than themselves. Unlike modern large felines like panthers, which kill by throttling prey after crushing down the airways, sabretooths dispatched prey by pulling it to the ground and slashing the neck open. This was done with the infamous canine fangs, which were much sharper than modern felines and had serrations across the back. In this way, Smilodon could kill large prey such as bison and ground sloths quickly and efficiently. Whether Smilodon was a social predator like modern lions or a solitary hunter like tigers is debated. It has been proposed this varied between species, possibly explaining the debatable nature of some finds supporting social hunting.

Humans had arrived in the New World as far back as 26,000 years ago, if not earlier, and coexisted with the sabretooth for over 10,000 years. Considering other species of machairodontinae like Machairodus and Dinofelis are known to be maneaters, it is quite possible Smilodon hunted ancient humans from time to time.

Smilodon fatalis went extinct roughly 10,000 years ago with Smilodon populator following a few hundred or thousand years later. The most well supported hypothesis as to why was because the Younger Dryas climate event devastated the habitats of large herbivores the giant cats preyed on, causing both to gradually decline over several thousand years. It is also believed that hunting of these herbivores by humans may have played a role in their decline and eventual extinction.

In the franchise

Creation

Jurassic Park

Even though they don't appear in Jurassic Park, there are a series of stuffed Smilodon dolls seen on the toy shelves in the Gallimimus Gift Shop inside the Visitor Center.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Smilodon appeared as a skull displayed on Lockwood Manor in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom.

Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous

Season 4

Smilodon was created by Mantah Corp sometime in 2016 or possibly earlier, with at least one specimen of the species living on Mantah Corp's secret island in the desert biome. The cloned specimen was incredibly similar to the original animal, with its coloring being mostly light yellowish brown with some black streaks on its back.

Smilodon appears in the fourth season of the show. It attacks the kids at a bonfire. Ben lures the Smilodon away from the group, but is cornered by the predator in a canyon. Fortunately, Kenji and the others manage to chase the Smilodon away by dropping boulders on the big cat from the edge of the gorge.

Later, when the kids flee from the Spinosaurus in the canyon, they are attacked again by the Smilodon. The big cat drives the kids down a back alley, but before it can kill them, the Spinosaurus suddenly breaks through a wall of the canyon and accidentally saves the kids by killing the Smilodon.

It's not known whether the cloned Smilodon was the only specimen of its kind created by Mantah Corp. If so, the species would have fallen back into extinction again, although it would probably be possible to obtain new DNA samples.

Games

Jurassic Park: Builder

see Smilodon/Builder

Smilodon can be created in the Glacier Park section. It can only be created by collecting a rare DNA sample from a glacial expedition.

Jurassic World: The Game

see Smilodon/JW: TG

Smilodon was added to the game as a creatable super rare Cenozoic animal on the February 15, 2017 update. It was changed to a legendary tournament on the November 5th, 2019 update.

Jurassic World: Alive

see Smilodon/JW: A

Smilodon is a epic Cenozoic creature in Jurassic World: Alive.

Trivia

  • Smilodon had a much shorter tail in life than what is portrayed in Jurassic Park: Builder. In Jurassic World: The Game, Jurassic World: Alive, and Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous, it is correctly depicted with a very short tail.
    • The reason for the short tail was because Smilodon was a close range ambush predator due to living in denser woodlands and didn't engage in long pursuits.
  • Smilodon is the first prehistoric animal to appear in the franchise that is not a Mesozoic animal. This is true both for appearing as merchandise in Jurassic Park and as a flesh and blood animal in Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous.
    • Additionally, Smilodon is the first prehistoric mammal to appear in the franchise.

References

  1. Smilodon' Initial Message.
  2. Smilodon Evolution #1 Message.

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Jurassic World: Camp Cretaceous Dinosaurs
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