Saber-Toothed Cat Fossils Found In Vegas

This June 5, 2012, image provided by the San Bernardino County (Calif.) Museum shows two fossilized leg bones from a sabertooth cat wrapped in protective plaster after being discovered in the hills north of Las Vegas. Such a discovery would be rare anywhere, but this marks the first of its kind in the fossil-rich Upper Las Vegas Wash, which has been proposed for designation as a national monument. / Courtesy San Bernardino County Museum via Las Vega

Prehistoric Cat Fossil Unearthed Near Vegas

Paleontologists around the world are elated regarding the unearthing of a pair of front legs belonging to a saber tooth cat. The fossil remains were discovered in a desert area north of Las Vegas.

These treasures found by a team associated with a California museum are estimated to date back to the Ice Age.

The saber tooth cat is believed to have been about 6-feet long and weighed around 1,000 pounds. Also known as dire cats, these fierce creatures were believed to literally strangle their prey.

According to Wikipedia, a saber-toothed cat also known as a saber-toothed tiger, is any of various groups predatory mammals related to modern cats (or resembling cats) that were characterized by long, sabre-shaped canine teeth. These animals belonged to subfamilies of Machairodontinae (Felidae), Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae (both Feliformia) as well as two families related to marsupials that were found worldwide from the Eocene Epoch to the end of the Pleistocene Epoch (42 mya—11,000 years ago), existing for approximately 42 million years.[4][5][6] The large maxillary canine teeth extended from the mouth even when it was closed. Despite the name, not all animals known as saber-toothed cats were closely related to modern felines.

According to a senior curator of the museum Kathleen Springer, carbon-dating technology is being used for further examination and evaluation. Studies indicate these saber tooth cats appear to have inhabited the La Brea Tar Pit area. Although no dates have been given, museum curators indicate that plans are underway relative to a saber tooth cat fossil exhibit in the future.

“We knew it had to be there,” Kathleen Springer, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “There was all this amazing lunch everywhere.”

“The sabertooth cat is right up there with the T. rex. That’s the one everyone recognizes,” Springer said.