Evolution Of Saber-toothed Cats

A saber-toothed cat is an extinct group of predatory mammals that are characterized by long, curved saber-shaped canine teeth. They are not related to modern day cats (Felidae), many are classified into different families of Feliformia, such as Barbourofelidae and Nimravidae.  saber-toothed cats can be viewed as examples of convergent evolution. That is when a species is not closely related, but has similar traits.

Smilodon

The first saber-tooths to appear were non-mammalian synapsids, such as the gorgonopsids.  They were one of the first groups of animals within synapsida to have saber teeth.

Gorgonops

Some nimravids physically resemble saber-toothed cats, but they were not closely related. Their canines were not as a flat like true saber-tooth cats, but more conical . They were not closely related, but they evolved a similar form as them. The ancestors of nimravids and cats split from a common ancestor in the middle Eocene about 50 million years ago.

WMNH paleontologists research the Pleistocene time period. The saber-tooth cats that we find is called Homotherium. Compared to other saber-toothed cats like Smilodon, they had shorter canines and were smaller in size. 

Homotherium

Nimravidae is an extinct family of carnivorans, they do not belong to the true cats family (Felidae). The nimravids are classified in the  Feliformia family. Fossils have been dated from the Middle Eocene through the Late Miocene 40.4-7.2 million years ago.