Life and Times
The sabre-toothed cat first appeared around 30Ma in the
The Cenozoic is broken down into two periods: the
Tertiary and the Quaternary. These periods are further broken
down into six epochs (see table) that span from 65Ma to recent
time. Therefore, if the sabre-tooth appeared around 30Ma it
would have appeared in the mid to late Oligocene.
Climate in the Cenozoic is characterized by
substantial fluctuations. In the paleocene there was a decrease
to approximately 10ºC, and then in the Eocene, it climbed to
tropical climates of 50ºC. The Oligocene continued this
trend of cooling and warming into the Miocene. Cooling began in the
Mid-Miocene, and the sea level began to rise, causing ice sheets to
form in Antartica. Sea level then rose a second time in the
Pliocene. Temperatures fluctuated, continuing to do so into the
Pleistocene. Glaciation due to the build up of ice, began around
2.5Ma, continuing periodically, advancing and retreating many times.
The last glaciation occurred approximately 10,000 years ago,
relatively the same time that the sabre-tooth went extinct (Condie 1998).