Washington, Nov 6 (ANI): A new study of male-female size differences in extinct big cats has suggested that male sabertoothed cats may have been less aggressive than many of their feline cousins, despite their fearsome fangs.
Commonly called the sabertoothed tiger, Smilodon fatalis was a large predatory cat that roamed North and South America about 1.6 million to 10,000 years ago, when there was also a prehistoric cat called the American lion.
The study examined size differences between sexes of these fearsome felines using subtle clues from bones and teeth.
They found that while male American lions were considerably larger than females, male and female sabertoothed cats were indistinguishable in size.
They say that this finding suggests that sabertooths may have been less aggressive than their fellow felines.
Julie Meachen-Samuels, a biologist at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, NC, Wendy Binder of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and Blaire Van Valkenburgh, a biologist at UCLA, were among the researchers included in the study.
The study appears in the November 5 issue of the Journal of Zoology. (ANI)