Publication Year: 2013
With their spectacularly enlarged canines, sabertooth cats are among the most popular of prehistoric animals, yet it is surprising how little information about them is available for the curious layperson. What’s more, there were other sabertooths that were not cats, animals with exotic names like nimravids, barbourofelids, and thylacosmilids. Some were no taller than a domestic cat, others were larger than a lion, and some were as weird as their names suggest. Sabertooths continue to pose questions even for specialists. What did they look like? How did they use their spectacular canine teeth? And why did they finally go extinct? In this visual and intellectual treat of a book, Mauricio Antón tells their story in words and pictures, all scrupulously based on the latest scientific research. The book is a glorious wedding of science and art that celebrates the remarkable diversity of the life of the not-so-distant past.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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...spending time in the company of Africa’s charismatic big cats – the lions, leopards, and cheetahs that my wife, Angie, and I have come to know as individuals, recording their lives in words, drawings, and photographs in the Masai Mara in Kenya, the northern extension of Tanzania’s great The Mara-Serengeti is an ancient land: there are rocks at the heart ...
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S.scabertooth c.scats are among the most popular of prehistoric.sc animals, yet surprisingly little information about them is available for the curious layperson. One particular genus, Smilodon, has exerted an in-tense fascination since its discovery, and it has been featured in children’s books, cartoons and fi lms. But there were actually many other genera and ...
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...and lived in Valladolid, in Spain. I came across a copy of The Golden Book Encyclopedia of Natural Science, and leafi ng through the section on fossils, I found an illustration by Rudolph Zallinger that depicted a scene in the Pleistocene of Rancho la Brea, in California. There, a sabertooth was seen attacking a mammoth that had been trapped in the asphalt, ...
1. What Is a Sabertooth?
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...for scientists and for many laypersons, but in the early days of paleontol-ogy, not even scientists knew that such a thing as a sabertoothed predator had ever existed. Consequently, when early paleontologists first tried to make sense of fragmentary fossils of sabertooths, they attributed the remains to other, already known groups of animals. After all, those early ...
2. The Ecology of Sabertooths
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...kind or another have inhabited the earth, our planet has undergone dramatic changes. Continents have collided and then drifted away from each other; temperatures have oscillated wildly, from periods of scorch-ing heat to chilling ice ages; sea levels have risen and fallen, changing the shape of coasts and alternately flooding and revealing thousands of ...
3. A Who’s Who of Sabertoothed Predators
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...tiger, or a leopard from a cougar, but most zoologists would have an embarrassingly difficult time trying to tell apart the bones of any of these pairings. Only a trained specialist, well familiarized with the specific fea-tures of big cat skeletons, would be able to pinpoint the subtle differences between the skulls, mandibles, and dentitions of these felids. In the fossil ...
4. Sabertooths as Living Predators
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...ized bones, but they once were living creatures, and the aim of the science of paleobiology is to infer from their fossils as much as possible about their ways of life. But can we really do more than just imagine how the sabertooths moved, hunted, and interacted? Actually, if we know how to look, fossil bones can yield a surprising amount of information. Us-...
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...day has often led to interpretations that see them as somewhat inferior, slow, or even maladaptive creatures that were left behind in the evolution-ary race, replaced by the more fit “normal” big cats. The paleontological literature from the early part of the twentieth century abounds in negative judgments of the biological prowess of sabertooths, from those authors ...
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About the Author, Production Notes
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Page Count: 268
Illustrations: 149 color illus.
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Life of the Past