Newly Discovered Saber-tooth Reveals Unknown Species
by Tierra Flowers, age 14
Scientists recently discovered a previously unknown mammal species—
. It was a hypercarnivore which means that it exclusively ate meat. This saber-tooth tiger belonged to the animal family
as one of the first animals to have saber-like fangs. This sabertooth lived 42 million years ago in the tropical rainforest.
Only around a dozen of the fossils from the
were found. These fossils were seen in Wyoming and others were also found in Asia.
The lower jawbone of the sabertoothed animal was found in San Diego by a 12-year-old boy in the 1980s. By studying the structure of the lower jaw, scientists could identify and determine the shape and teeth of the animal.
“Those fangs were either used to bite into the throat of the prey or were used to rip and tear the flesh,” said Ashley Poust, a paleontologist at the San Diego Natural History Museum. The rediscovered jaw bone of this creature has been in the museum since 1988 and was found on a construction site over a fossil bed.
Being a strict meat eater was uncommon for predators in the Eocene Epoch, a period that ended 34 million years ago. Hypercarnivores such as polar bears and tigers still exist today.
Science News for Students
San Diego Natural History Museum