The scientific tourist #155 — California Saber-Tooth

One of the involuntary residents of the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits:

California Saber-Tooth

From the placard:

The California Saber-tooth may be viewed as a powerful and efficient hunting machine. Saber-tooths appear to have attacked young mammoths and mastodons. Modern cats, such as the African lion, generally attack the neck or throat of their prey. However, mammoths and mastodons had thick neck muscles, and their short throats were well protected. Furthermore, sabers would have been broken if this style of attack were used, and damaged sabers from Rancho La Brea are rare. After a Saber-tooth used its powerful forelimbs to pull down its prety, it probably stabbed at the unprotected, softer underside of the animal. It then retreated until after the young animal died in order to escape the wrath of the mother and other members of the herd.

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