Saturday 16 November 2019

Extinct fanged creature re-discovered ,what does it mean for the sabre tooth?

Fanged mouse-deer identified after vanishing for a generation
A small group of silver-backed chevrotains, tiny deer-like creatures, has been photographed in a Vietnamese forest after an intense search. Lost to the outside world for a generation—and feared extinct—a small deer-like species with tiny fangs has been photographed tiptoeing through a dry lowland forest in southern Vietnam. The last known scientific recording of the animal, known as the silver-backed chevrotain (Tragulus versicolor), dates to 1990, when a hunter killed one and donated the specimen to scientists.Source :
This made me think about other extinct fanged creatures I wrote a blog in 2010 about sabre toothed tiger sightings.
Since then I have come across two other reported sightings that I hadn’t included.

A 1998 Science Ilustrée article said  that a sabre-toothed cat had been seen emerging from a cave in Paraguay by a French sailor named François Piquet in 1984.  Loren Coleman wrote that this report could be a rehashing of Matthiessen's story. The Science Ilustrée article also says  that another sabre-toothed cat had been seen in Mexico.

Then this from 1991
“thanks to the extensive and deep knowledge that the inhabitants of the region possess their inhabitants, most of them hunters or farmers who spend a lot of time in the forest. They had heard of the Dantero tiger and referred to him as any other animal of the local fauna. However, we only obtained a unique and invaluable detailed description of this elusive carnivore specialized in large prey. The observation took place during the dry season - from November to March - of 1991, while Tirson Sosa, a 50-year-old Indian Pemon was in the jungle hunting, about three days upriver on the left bank of the Carrao River. The animal, the size of an adult jaguar, emerged from the thicket to drink water in a well. It was not a puma, since it did not present its long tail, nor a jaguar, because it did not have the characteristic spots of its camouflage. He also noted an important detail that caught his attention: although the cat was positioned on fairly flat ground, the front legs were taller or more robust than the rear. Its colour was yellowish brown or light brown, and what appeared to be two large fangs emerged from the mouth.He immediately knew that he was facing the rare, elusive and feared wairarima. "I've never seen anything like this before," he told us. "He quietly appeared, and cautiously vanished." When we show him a "field guide" illustration of a prehistoric sabre-toothed feline, Sosa positively identified him as the Dantero tiger. These prehistoric predators have powerful front legs, useful for immobilizing their prey. The hunting manoeuvre ends with a heartbreaking bite in the throat that its formidably armed mouth provides.”

Also in South America:
An ancient tar pit exposed when Venezuelan oil workers laid a pipeline has yielded a rich trove of fossils, including a type of sabre-toothed cat that palaeontologists had never found before in South America. Scientists say the find holds the promise of many discoveries to come.The fossils are 1.8 million years old and include skulls and jawbones of six scimitar-toothed cats a variety of saber-toothed cat with shorter, narrower canine teeth than other species.Researchers led by Venezuelan palaeontologist Ascanio Rincon announced the discovery this month, saying in addition to proving the cat once lived here, the find also should offer a rare window into the environment shortly after North and South America became connected following an age of separation.

When the sabre toothed tiger was roaming the world,it was a colder, snowy or grassy plains environment. It would have to adapted a lot to exist in hot areas ,in a jungle environment with different prey to catch .However that is not impossible and at least one scientist thinks it possible.
Alan Turner, paleontologist specialist in felines and mammals in general, and author of ‘The big cats and their fossil relatives’, believes that sabre-toothed felines, as well as other prehistoric species, can survive today in a suitable environment.

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