HOMOTHERIUM was a saber-tooth cat that lived until about 12,000 years ago in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. It was formidable – at nearly SEVEN FEET IN LENGTH AND 500 POUNDS, with long, curved “scimitar” serrated teeth it could bring down a mammoth – and it often did. Friesenhahn Cave near San Antonio, TX has yielded more than 30 Homotherium skeletons along with nearly 400 YOUNG MAMMOTHS! Apparently, these cats specialized in bringing down young mammoths, then dragged the bodies to their caves to limit competition from scavengers.
Although their back legs were shorter than their front ones (similar to hyenas), these beasts were likely fast runners, as their nasal passages are unusually large like cheetahs. Paleontologists believe they could see well during the day, and they may have hunted in packs. The cat’s extinction may have come due to climate change and humans killing off their prey.
Harvard researchers are racing with Korean labs to be the first to clone a mammoth. If they’re successful. should they try to clone Homotherium?