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NIU biologist Virginia Naples is helping put new face on ferocious saber-tooth cats
Date:10/26/2011

tooth. Only in the late 1990s, when Naples, Martin and Babiarz began to study the fossils, did it become apparent they represented a paleontological prize.

"What they really had was one unique specimen," Naples says. "We knew it was different than the other animals."

The Cookie-Cutter Cat was a cross between the two previously known saber-tooth varieties and may have been the most ferocious. Its sabers were similar in size to the scimitar-tooth cats. But the cat's body was even more muscular than the California dirk-tooth, and the Cookie-Cutter possessed a wicked set of serrated biting teeth, including curved canines measuring 3 inches.

"It had a whole mouthful of steak knives," Naples says.

The NIU biologist says this particular type of saber-tooth would likely bite its prey repeatedly until its victim went into shock from loss of blood.


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Contact: Tom Parisi
tparisi@niu.edu
815-753-3635
Northern Illinois University
Source:Eurekalert  

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