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EXCLUSIVE: Researchers: Starvation did not cause saber-tooth cat extinction

December 29, 2012

EXCLUSIVE: Researchers: Starvation did not cause saber-tooth cat extinction

Professor Larisa DeSantis answers questions about her saber-tooth cat study during an interview with the Science Recorder.

A new study of the teeth of saber-tooth cats and American lions reveals that these large carnivores did not resort to chomping on bones just before extinction, suggesting that lack of food was probably not the primary reason these large cats became extinct.

The saber-toothed cat and American lion went extinct along with other large animals approximately 12,000 years ago. Previous studies have suggested many causes of this extinction, including a changing climate, human activity and human competition for food. In the current study, researchers at Vanderbilt University discovered no difference in bone consumption between older fossils and more recent ones. Based on this evidence, they believe that the saber-tooth cats’ diet did not change significantly near the time they became extinct.

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