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Smilodon, commonly known as a saber-toothed cat or 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.[1] 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. Serving as a mid-tier predator in the Americas, it survived the Pliocene faunal extinction and was ancestral to the other two species which became apex predators. Smilodon fatalis was a successor species found in northern South America into North America, growing upwards of 280 kilograms (600 lbs) for larger individuals. Smilodon populator was a chiefly Amazonian South American species that is typically considered the largest feline to ever exist with one individual known to be over 470 kilograms (1,040 lbs). Interestingly, both Smilodon fatalis and Smilodon populator did coexist in some regions, likely occupying different niches or habitats.

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 stabbing through the neck to cut it 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. Fossilized footprints of humans and Smilodon have been found alongside one another, and a pictograph from Arizona potentially is a depiction of Smilodon drawn by people from the region. If true, the artwork depicts the animal with a spotted coat, ear tufts, and cheek ruffs similar to those in lynxes. Considering other species of machairodontinae like Machairodus and Dinofelis are known to be man-eaters, 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.

Characteristics[]

The Smilodon clones were incredibly similar to the original animal, with its coloring being mostly light yellowish brown with some black streaks on its back.

History[]

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: Camp Cretaceous[]

Season Four[]

At Least...[]

Smilodon was created by Mantah Corp sometime by 2016, with at least one specimen of the species living on Mantah Corp's secret island in the desert biome.

When the Nublar six washed up on the island and made it into the desert, the Smilodon attacked the kids at their bonfire. Ben lured the Smilodon away from the group, but was cornered by the predator in a canyon until Kenji jumped on its back as a distraction, and the other survivors chased it away by dropping boulders near the cat from the canyon's walls.

Staying Alive[]

While being chased by the Spinosaurus from Jurassic Park III, the kids fled into the canyon, where they encountered and were attacked again by a Smilodon, possibly the same one as before. The big cat drived the kids down a back alley, but before it could kill them, the Spinosaurus broke through a wall of the canyon, grabbed and killed the Smilodon.

It remains unknown whether there was more than one Smilodon that Mantah Corp cloned on the island, and by extension, whether the campers' two encounters with the animal were with the same individual.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom[]

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

Appearances[]

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.
  • So far, Smilodon and Becklespinax are the only canon species not to appear in Jurassic World: Evolution 2.

Behind the Scenes[]

References[]

  1. Smilodon Evolution #1 Message.

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