Large felines are impressive and majestic, inspiring awe and fear through their mere presence. Most of them have important roles in different legends and myths. Despite their impressive stature, the large felines of today are just smaller counterparts of the large cats from long ago. Many people have heard of the gigantic Smilodon. The smilodon is not the only large feline in history.
Also known as the “sabertooth tiger”, Smilodon is perhaps the most well-known prehistoric large feline. It is definitely the most formidable. Nowadays we know of three species of Smilodon. All three species lived in North and South America. Smilodon gracilis was the size of a jaguar, while Smilodon fatalis was the size of a lion. It was the South American species that was bigger than both of the others. It reached 500kg fully grown. It was less agile, but much more powerful than modern large felines.
The Smilodon could injure a full grown mammoth and bring it down. It went extinct 10.000 years ago.
2. Pleistocene tiger
The Pleistocene tiger was the ancestor of today’s tigers. It is not considered a different species. Due to the fact that their territory was larger and food more abundant, at those times the Pleistocene tigers grew much bigger. These so called “cave tigers” could reach 490 kgs. Their remains were found in Russia, China and Java.
3. The American Lion
The American lion is considered the largest feline of all times. It is almost as famous as the Smilodon. The American lion, also known as Panthera Atrox, was found in North and South America. It went extinct 11.000 years ago.
Scientists have different opinions about this large feline. Some believe it is in fact the ancestor of modern lions and should be part of the same species. Others, however, point out that American Lions were different from modern lions. These scientists believe the Panthera antrox is part of an altogether different species. The American Lion is definitely the largest cat in history, weighting up to 500kg and being able to take down large prey.
There are many large felines that are now extinct. Most of them, much larger than modern lions or tigers, have disappeared approximately 10.000 years ago. At some point they must have encountered humans. Why do you think these majestic predators went extinct?
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