Mauricio Antón

Saber-toothed cats had a surprising diet, fossils reveal

Saber-toothed cats: It’s right in their name. These ancient predators are distinguished by their massive canine teeth made for tearing into their prey. However, new research is shifting our perception of what was on the menu for these big cats, more formally known as Smilodon fatalis. New studies of their fossils show they dined on forest-dwelling creatures like deer, rather than on horses, bison, and other grassland roaming grazers, National Geographic reports. The fossils also reveal that saber-toothed cats may have had less flexible diets than animals like coyotes, Current Biology reports, which may explain why coyotes are still around today and saber-toothed cats aren’t.

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