Footprints of an Elusive Sabre-Toothed Cat Found On Beach

Ancient telltale tracks show how the beasts hunted.

Sabre-Toothed Cat
(National Park Service)

At least 10,000 years ago, during the Late Pleistocene, a sabre-toothed cat prowled the beaches of Miramar. The first-known footprints of this elusive beast were found not far from the city’s commercial center by researchers from the Local Punta Hermengo Municipal Museum.

The scale of the prints, about 7.5 inches in diameter, much larger than even the biggest left by modern lions, shows that they were left by Smilodon populator, a species of sabre-toothed cat known to have lived in the region. But new research on the prints, found in 2015, show that they belong to a new species, called “ichnospecies.”

The footprints show that the cats were more plantigrade than modern cats, which means they walked more on their soles like humans, not on their toes. This, combined with their bulkier front feet, “reinforce(s) the idea that this felid was an ambush predator,” according to the authors and reported by Atlas Obscura. 

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