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Scientists say sabercat bit like a pussycat
Date:10/1/2007

l cat cat to a very specific range of killing behaviours.

Although its bite was weak, this is not to imply Smilodon was not was a formidable predator. "Anything but," says Dr Wroe. "Smilodon was an awesome beast -- and what it lacked in bite force it more than made up for elsewhere."

"The sabrecat had an immensely powerful body; perfect for wrestling large prey to the ground, and our models show that it needed to do this before trying a bite, "explains Mr McHenry. "Killing was more likely applied to the prey's throat, because it is easier to restrain the prey this way. Once the bite was done the prey would have died almost instantly."

Dr Wroe describes the lion as a "better all rounder" in the hunting stakes. Smilodon was massively over-engineered for the purposes of taking small prey, but a ruthlessly efficient hunter of big game."

The team is now applying their techniques to inform medical research involving dentists, surgeons and safety scientists.


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Contact: Mary O'Malley
m.omalley@unsw.edu.au
61-293-889-881
University of New South Wales
Source:Eurekalert

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