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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 21:23 EDT

Xenosmilus

Xenosmilus is an extinct genus of the saber-toothed cats (Machairodontinae). In the Haile limestone mines in Alachua County, Florida, amateur fossil hunters recovered two mostly intact specimens. It is thought that Xenosmilus lived around 1.2 million years ago, but the information about their extinction is unknown. There is one known species in this genus, called X. hodsonae. Found among a pile of peccary bones, it can be surmised that these extinct cats fed on peccaries.

Xenosmilus weighed anywhere between five hundred and seven to eight hundred and eighty one pounds and had a total body length of up to 5.9 feet. These cats were larger than any cats found alive or dead today. The two cats were put into their own genus (Machairodontini) in 1994 after research showed that they were different from the two most common classifications of dirk-toothed cats and scimitar-toothed cats. Dirk-toothed cats had stout limbs and elongated upper canines, while the scimitar-toothed cats had shorter teeth and longer legs. Having shorter teeth and a stout, muscular shape, Xenosmilus received its own genus by breaking both of the known characteristics of saber-toothed cats.

Image Caption: Florida Museum of Natural History Fossil Hall at the University of Florida, Xenosmilus hodsonae. Credit: Dallas Krentzel/Wikipedia (CC BY 2.0)

Xenosmilus