Ancient Sabertooth Cats were Social Creatures

The average cat: it doesn’t like people. When most people think of a cat, they think of a furry creature that runs away. But the ancient sabertooth cats were quite the opposite. They were often found in groups, and achieved their greatest strength in numbers.

The saberooth cat (Smilodon fatalis, often falsely referred to as a sabertooth tiger) is recognized for its extremely long teeth, which could reach up to seven inches below its lower jaw. They had a ferocious and vicious nature. It walked the lands of modern-day North and South America in the Cenozoic era. Many skeletons of the carnivore have been found in the La Brea Tar Pits in the heart of Los Angeles Sabertooth cats were usually around 4 feet long, and had a short tail similar to a bobcat.

This article states t.hat, according to a study, sabertooth cats would frequently hunt with other cats, which makes sense. “Why approach a situation where you are likely to encounter dangerous competitors without having a few friends along?” said UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Blaire Van Valkenburgh, author of the paper on the study. Controversy surrounded the results because, as I stated in the first paragraph, most cats prefer to go along with their business on their own and at their own leisure.

Another example of a somewhat social cat would be the lion. Lions frequently hunt and gather in groups, called prides. These are very tight circles, and not any lion will be accepted. It is a group of related female lions (called lionesses), and only a few cubs. The male cubs leave the pride after they grow up and go overtake their own pride, where he reproduces with many of the females.

The sabertooth cat (not tiger) was a social creature, despite many characteristics of a cat. But this just shows how evolution can work. Over time, cats have gotten more and more independent. Perhaps this is a testament to other animals. Maybe other social creatures will evolve over time to become solitary. Only time will tell…

What do you think happened that made cats so independent?

 Do you think that sabertooth cats were actually very social?

Do you think it’s necessary for animals to be social, or is it just fine to be independent?

3 thoughts on “Ancient Sabertooth Cats were Social Creatures

  1. That’s an interesting question. Why were saber tooth cats so much more social than today’s modern cats? They do share similar characteristics; however the world, along with every species has changed and adapted to our constantly changing environment. I would have thought saber tooth cats wouldn’t be very social, due to the fact that they were responsible for their own food and survival. Today’s housecats are fed and taken care of; therefore you would think they would be more social. I have noticed though that modern cats aren’t very friendly towards other unknown cats. I think a reason saber tooth cats were social is because they travelled in packs. They relied on each other to help survive. Today, if a person has more than one cat, they are usually from different places, and not at all alike. This may be one reason why they aren’t very social, because they weren’t raised together. This website gives additional information of the cat and just helps to understand a little more. http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/earth/geology/saber-tooth-cat.htm

  2. Saber tooth tigers have always been my favorite animals. But now I have researched this too, and found they are actually called saber tooth cats. My bad. Check this link so broaden your perspective on these amazing creatures. http://exhibits.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/larson/smilodon.html. I have been to the La Brea Tar Pits and seen hundreds of saber tooth cats’ skeletons. They were fascinating. Cats used to love working with other cats, but they are becoming more independent. I did not know, however, that saber tooth cats were so small. I thought they were bigger than dogs, but that seems to not be the case. I hope my link helps you.

  3. I think I might have a reason for why cats aren’t as social anymore. I think that cats have grown unsocial as an attempt of imitating the other animals in its environment. As the saber-tooths went extinct other cats were given more room to roam so they spread out and claimed territory like the other animals in their environments. The only reasons they would have to be together after that would have been to procreate. I also agree with the fact that you think that the saber-tooths were only social so that they could hunt for food. It would be a lot easier to take down a two ton mammoth with 10 cats rather than one.

    http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/mammal/carnivora/sabretooth.html

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