(ORDO NEWS) — Paleontologists at Ohio State University at Marion and Gonzaga University have identified a new species of large machairodus – the saber-toothed tiger – from fossils found in North America.
The animal lived in the territory of modern North America from 5.5 to 9 million years ago during the Miocene epoch. It belongs to Machairodus, a genus of large saber-toothed cats that lived in Africa, Eurasia and North America, and is an ancient relative of the most famous saber-toothed cat, smilodon.
The representative of the new species, which was named Machairodus lahayishupup humerus, weighed up to 410 kg, making it one of the largest felines in the history of the Earth.
“We believe they were animals that regularly killed prey the size of a bison. At that time, it was the largest cat that ever lived. ”
Jonathan Kalede – study co-author
Dr. Kalede and his colleague, Dr. John Orcutt of the Gonzaga University Department of Biology, examined several Machairodus lahayishupup humeral bones from museums in Oregon, Idaho, California, and Texas.
“They were clearly big cats. We started with a few assumptions based on their ages, ranging from 5.5 to 9 million years, and their size, because these things were huge,” Orcutt said.
The largest of the seven fossils available for analysis, Machairodus lahayishupup humerus, was over 46 cm long and 4 cm in diameter. For comparison, the average modern adult male lion has a humerus about 33 cm long.
The researchers calculated the body size of the new species based on the relationship between the size of the fossils found and the body weight of modern big cats. Scientists believe that M. lahayishupup humerus may have hunted rhinos, giant camels, and giant sloths, which were widespread at the time.
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