Relation to Modern Cats

Figure.16  Tiger.
There is a common misconception about the sabre-toothed: it has been mistakenly termed the 'sabre-toothed tiger' over the years. This, simply put, is wrong. The sabre-tooth cat is not closely related to the modern day tiger. In fact, it is not closely related to any of the modern day cats. The sabre-tooth cat was an early evolutionary branch that went extinct, where modern cats of today are an entirely different evolutionary branch that occurred much later. The relation between modern day cats and the sabre-tooth cat is that they have the same distant ancestor.

Figure.17  Lion.
If a sabre-toothed cat had to be compared to a modern day cat, it would be most similar to that of a lion. Although the sabre-tooth was shorter and much heavier than the lion, they did share a few attributes. Sabre-tooth cats, like lions, were social animals; they both hunted their prey, and both lived amongst other members of the same species. The other cats of today are solitary hunters and drifters.

**Interesting Fact**: Researchers now know that the sabre-tooth, like the lion, could roar. This was concluded by looking at the throat bones of sabre-tooth skeletons. These bones, called hyoids, are shaped exactly like that of a roarer, the lion.