Why do saber-toothed tigers have such long teeth?

(ORDO NEWS) — Ancient and already extinct tigers were called saber-toothed for their long fangs – a kind of sabers, sticking out and grazing. Terrible weapon.

They could gut any opponent, piercing the thickest skins and layers of subcutaneous fat. But how practical were the “sabers” in use?

After all, in order to strike them, prehistoric cats had to open their mouths more than wide – wider than 90 degrees. Modern tigers are not capable of this. Such attempts threaten dislocations and even fractures.

Why do saber toothed tigers have such long teeth 2
Skull of a saber-toothed tiger

It was possible to evaluate the biomechanics of saber-toothed tigers by studying their preserved skulls. Belgian scientists from the University of Liege examined the jaws of 17 species, simulating a total of 1,074 bites.

It turned out that saber-toothed tigers, without harm to themselves, bared their teeth in the most extreme way, putting forward their “sabers”. They opened their mouths as much as 110 degrees – almost at the maximum angle. They were anatomically adapted for this.


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