Temporal range: Irvingtonian
|X. hodsonae, Florida Museum of Natural History Fossil Hall at the University of Florida|
Martin et al., 2000
Xenosmilus hodsonae (from Greek, ξένος, xenos, "strange" + σμίλη, smilē, "chisel" ) is an extinct member of the Machairodontinae, or saber-toothed cats. Two fairly intact specimens were found by amateur fossil hunters in 1983 (1981 by some sources) in the Haile limestone mines in Alachua County, Florida. In 1994 the fossils were examined, and it was decided that the cats were of an entirely new genus. The fossils were of Irvingtonian age (1.8 to 0.3 Ma).
Physically, the cat measured between 1.7–1.8 m (5.6–5.9 ft) long with a highly muscular body and probably weighed around 230–400 kg (510–880 lb). Only Smilodon populator was noticeably larger amongst the saber-toothed cats. Before their discovery, all known saber-toothed cats fell into two general categories. Dirk toothed cats had long upper canines and stout legs. Scimitar toothed cats had only mildly elongated canines, and long legs. Xenosmilus broke these groupings by possessing both stout muscular legs and body, and short broad upper canines. Found alongside the two skeletons were dozens of peccary bones. It seems likely, with their muscular builds, that X. hodsonae preyed upon peccaries. It has also been theorized by some to have hunted via a "bite and retreat" strategy using its teeth to inflict deep wounds because of the way its canines and incisors could operate as a unit during a bite, leading to Xenosmilus bearing the occasional moniker of "cookie-cutter cat".
- Cookie-Cutter Cat Not as Cute as the Name Sounds, Wired
- Paleobiology Database: Xenosmilus, Age range and collections
- A more fearsome saber-toothed cat, ScienceNews, October 20, 2008
- Anton, Mauricio (2013). Sabertooth.
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