Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Saber-toothed cats with oral injuries ate softer foods



Date:  November 5, 2018
Source: Geological Society of America

Saber-toothed cats with oral injuries ate softer foods than their uninjured counterparts, who may have provided injured cats with soft scraps.

Indianapolis, IN, USA: Saber-toothed cats, the large felid predators that once roamed Southern California, may have eaten softer foods after suffering oral injuries, according to a new study. Microscopic damage patterns on teeth from fossilized cats show the injured predators transitioned to seeking softer prey, like flesh instead of bone, which healthy cats may have provided for them, according to the study.

Saber-toothed cats likely suffered injuries while felling large prey, according to the study's lead author, vertebrate paleontologist Larisa DeSantis from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee.

The cat's prey animals were larger 10,000 to 50,000 years ago, DeSantis says, and could have easily broken jaws or kicked teeth completely free from the socket, leading to subsequent and sometimes lethal infection. It's unlikely that cats with such severe injuries could take down large animals and consume their soft, fleshy meat, she says, or even survive long after the injury.


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