Saber-toothed cat (Smilodon)

Despite their name, the extinct saber-toothed cats are only very distantly related to lions, tigers, leopards, cougars, Siamese, and other living cats. The best known saber-toothed cat, Smilodon, has sometimes been referred to as a saber-toothed tiger, although that is misleading because it is not closely related to tigers. Smilodon lived during the Pleistocene and early Holocene epochs before becoming extinct about 10,000 years ago. Fossil remains have been found in central and eastern Kansas. Like most fossils, they are most often found after being partially exposed in a stream bank or other eroded area. Meat eaters, Smilodon likely used their oversized canines for stabbing bison, camel, and other large prey rather than for grabbing and pinning them down, although paleontologists aren’t positive how they used their teeth.