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Unexplained / Enigmatic nature / Animals / Cryptoglossary / Sabre-Toothed Cats / 

Sabre-Toothed Cats

Named after their large protruding fangs, Sabre-toothed cats were one of the top predators of the Cenozoic. The extinction of these magnificent mammals started in the late Pliocene Epoch with the final blow being dealt by the end of the end of the Pleistocene (roughly 10,000 years ago). Yet, there are a handful of reports from more remote parts of the world, which suggest some relict populations may have survived undetected by science.

From Chad's northern mountains come reports of the Tigre de Montage, or the Mountain Tiger. The Zagaoua people of the region describe the creature as being as large as a lion, with red fur and white strips, tailless, and possessing a pair of huge fangs projecting from its mouth. When a Zagaoua hunter was shown pictures of animals, both living and extinct, he identified the Tigre de Montage as Machairodus, the African sabre-toothed tiger, which supposedly died out around a million years ago. The mountain ranges of Northern Chad are remote, inhospitable to explorers and scarcely catalogued zoologically. These factors strengthen the fact that a large predator could remain hidden from the eyes of science for so long.

Sabre-tooths have also been reported from the mountainous regions of Ecuador, Columbia, and Paraguay in South America. Peter Matthiessen recalled a story told to him by a seaman about a rare striped cat, which possessed large fangs protruding from its mouth. Mattheissen wondered if the sabre-tooth tiger hadn't established itself in South America in the same way the puma did, thus escaping the Ice Age extinction of it's northern relatives. Cryptozoologist Bernard Heuvelmans felt that sabre-toothed tigers like Smilodon may be involved in such sightings, but it is just as likely that surviving sabre-toothed marsupials, like Thylacosmilidae, are the real culprits.

Additionally, in 1975 a "mutant jaguar" was killed in Paraguay. Upon being examined by zoologist Juan Acavar, he described it as having 12-inch long sabre-teeth. Acavar felt that the animal was in fact a Smilodon, which supposedly died out over 10000 years ago. Fearing the report would frighten the public, authorities stuck with mutant jaguar story. Since the first examination nothing more has been heard of the carcass.

With mounting evidence it seems likely that there may in fact be a few relict populations of Sabre-toothed Cats surviving in modern times. However, until science can gain irrefutable information regarding their existence Sabre-toothed Cats will remain as victims of the Ice Age.

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