What happened during the last ice age? Saber-toothed tigers are extinct, but tigers survive?

The quaternary ice age ushered in a cold, small high about 13,000 years ago, after which temperatures began to slowly pick up.

However, many animals have not survived this period, especially those large mammals weighing more than 50 kg, which is somewhat regrettable to be extinct before the spring, including saber-toothed tigers.

Interestingly, other large animals, such as the tiger, which is also a big cat, have survived to this day, although it is not very good today.

Many people may indeed be curious, how do saber-toothed tigers look much more powerful than tigers, why saber-toothed tigers are extinct, while tigers can survive?

it is an illusion that a saber-toothed tiger is stronger than a tiger

Tigers and saber-toothed tigers should have appeared about the same time.

The oldest fossil of a saber-toothed tiger has been found dating back 1.8 million years, but a smaller saber-toothed cat, the Slim Saber-toothed tiger, or bladed tiger, appeared at least 2.5 million years ago.

The early fossils of tigers date back 2 million years and were lost even earlier than the impressive, huge saber-toothed tiger.

note: comparison of the size of three cats called saber-toothed tigers

Although most tigers are not as big as saber-toothed tigers, some tigers are not necessarily weaker than large saber-toothed tigers.

Saber-toothed tigers are more than ten centimeters long and have very powerful teeth, always giving a more powerful feeling than modern tigers. but in fact, its true size is smaller than the current African lion, only about 25% larger than the size of a cougar around 100 kg.

figure: fossils of saber-toothed tigers

Many places describe saber-toothed tigers as having different weights, but it is certain that their maximum weight is between 160 and 280 kilograms.

A male northeast tiger is still more likely to weigh more than 300 kilograms, so modern tigers are not necessarily weaker than saber-toothed tigers, and probably the opposite – modern tigers are more powerful.

However, the strength should be the saber-toothed tiger to be better, because, from the fossil record, the saber-toothed tiger’s limbs are shorter and smaller, and stout.

In fact, saber-toothed tigers also have very short tails, coupled with their short limbs, which combine to make this animal very different from today’s big cats, they are not suitable for hunting for prey.

When they hunt, they basically jump up and hold their prey, and then use the strength of the neck to put their fangs deep into the throat of the prey.

figure note: it is assumed that saber-toothed tiger hunting is such a prey

As to why it can be concluded that saber-toothed tigers kill their prey in this way, it is because of their poor bite force.

In fact, it is not difficult to find that if they open their mouths only tigers, lions as big, their teeth will be an obstacle, so saber-toothed tiger mouths can be as large as 120 degrees, like modern snakes, which reduces their bite force.

From body size to pursuit ability, to bite force, modern tigers are basically the winner of saber-toothed tigers. so it’s no surprise that the tiger survived the ice age and the saber-toothed tiger disappeared.

The cause of the extinction of the saber-toothed tiger

There are several theasis about the extinction of saber-toothed tigers.

One theory is that this hapless feline has come across humans. in fact, whether it is saber-toothed tigers, or tigers are entering the fourth age of the ice age only appeared, each ice age will cycle the ice age and interggly ice age, that is, the temperature will continue to rise and fall, so the tiger and saber-toothed tiger have survived several ice age.

So what difference did the recent ice age (1-20,000 years ago) make for the extinction of the saber-toothed tiger?

the skull of a saber-toothed tiger

Tiger skull

In fact, it is easy to think that humans began to seriously affect the surrounding environment, 10,000 years ago, humans have been very good at using spears, even bows and arrows to hunt.

Although it is almost impossible for humans to take saber-toothed tigers as hunting targets, saber-toothed tigers are relatively dangerous, driven away by humans is certain, living space will not stop being squeezed.

In addition, humans hunted herbivores, making it difficult for saber-toothed tigers to hunt, eventually leading to extinction.

Was there such a great human influence at that time? we don’t know. the idea that humans indirectly led to the extinction of saber-toothed tigers, while shared by many, is also opposed.

Opponents have other ideas – at least three other mainstream ones: 1, the last ice age vegetation deteriorated so rapidly that many large animals couldn’t react; 2, the emergence of superbugs; and 3, like dinosaurs, when the earth was attacked by asteroids.

If we want to compare tigers with saber-toothed tigers, I think it’s really food, because the only thing that’s certain is that the prey of saber-toothed tigers is mostly extinct.

As we said earlier, saber-toothed tigers are not suitable for pursuit, so their prey is those bulky large herbivores, such as bison, deer and ground slackers, and possibly mammoths.

Most of the saber-toothed tiger’s list of prey is extinct with it, a symbol of the ice age, but the smaller animals are more flexible than it is, and they can’t catch it and can only go extinct.

On the other hand, a tiger can catch wild boars, which are smaller than its own prey, and bigger than itself, and it can cope.

Therefore, tigers can live longer than saber-toothed tigers, and another reason is that they do have a better predatory ability than saber-toothed tigers.

At last

In fact, any extinction has its own problem, which is natural selection, it will only allow the most adapted species to survive.

Saber-toothed tigers disappear before the end of the last ice age, and can only find their own reasons, although it is likely to be caused by humans, human beings are only natural selection is an external force, but also will only let the unsuitable species disappear.

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