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Feb 28 14 8:08 AM

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This new topic will try the issue of size and weight in the prehistoric great cats, from the first true giant Barbourofelis fricki from the late Miocene, passing to the first and last sabertooth cats, to the last giants Pantherinae of Eurasia and America.

 

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#1 [url]

Feb 28 14 8:11 AM

Barbourofelis fricki:

Barbourofelis fricki was the largest of the group Nimravidae (cat like predators), although its body plan was not like that of the modern felids, but more like a mix between cats and bears. It lived in the late Miocene (8 million years ago) in Nebraska, USA and was part of an ancient group called Nimravids, which were not “true” cats in the whole sense of the word.

 

Here are the pages of the new book of Mauricio Antón “Sabertooth” of 2013, about this large cat:

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This time, Antón provided an estimated shoulder height of 90 cm, which is only about 5-10 cm less than an average Amur-Bengal tiger. However, the whole body proportions have been changed and this time, the reconstruction of the skeleton shows a relative long limbed animal with a short robust head and a highly muscular body. In fact, this reconstruction almost match that of the Smilodon populator of Antón, check it:

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Previous reconstructions showed a short robust body, here are the first reconstructions of the skeleton and two images (a draw and the largest skull) of the program “Paleoworld” of Discovery Channel (1990):

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Using that skeleton I estimated a head-body of 170 cm in straight line and a skull length of about 300 mm. A poster in a Russian forum said that the largest skull measured 340 mm, however, I have been unable to found the source of this claim.

 

The only true measured bone that I know is the mandible of the largest skull which was of 243 mm, check the image:

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Now, using the new reconstruction of Antón and the known mandible length, plus the estimated shoulder height, check my new results:

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I obtained a longer head-body at 180 cm, which is the same than an average male African lion and the skull length was estimated at 330 mm, so is possible that the figure of 340 mm could be accurate.

 

Although this great cat was no larger than an average lion-tiger in body size, shoulder height and skull length, the weight issue is interesting. Turner & Antón (1997) and Antón (2013) only stated that Barbourofelis fricki weighed the same than a large lion and they quote a maximum figure of 225 kg for an empty belly South African lion. However, the morphology of this old large cat is different and resembles that of Smilodon fatalis in both robustness and body size. So, I infer that this great cat probably weighed up to 250-280 kg, just like the North American sabertooth cat.

 

Last Edited By: GuateGojira Feb 28 14 10:48 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#2 [url]

Feb 28 14 8:53 AM

Size comparison of S-Populator and B-Fricki

Here is a size comparison between Smilodon populator of South America (Late Pleistocene) and Barbourofelis fricki of North America (Late Miocene).
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The shoulder height of Smilodon fatalis of North America (late Pleistocene) is up to 100 cm, which will make him just slightly larger than the old sabertooth nimravid.

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#3 [url]

Feb 28 14 10:10 AM

Huge cats

Check this comparison, with the largest Miocene (Barbourofelis), Pleistocene (Smilodon) and the largest Holocene (tiger; modern era) felids.
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The Smilodon populator is HUGE and its torso looks like that of a big bear. Now, the Barbourofelis doesn't look too large, even the modern Amur tiger is larger. So I now think that it probably don't weighed more than 220-230 kg in the best case. All the draws are from Mauricio Antón, sadly I did not found a full color image of a tiger from him.

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#5 [url]

Feb 28 14 10:40 PM

1. The Nimravidae, sometimes known as false saber-toothed cats, is an extinct family of mammalian carnivores that was endemic to North America, Europe, and Asia. Not considered to belong to the true cats (family Felidae), Nimravidae is generally considered closely related and classified as part of suborder Feliformia. Fossils have been dated from the Middle Eocene through the Late Miocene epochs (Bartonian through Tortonian stages, 40.4—7.2 mya), spanning approximately 33.2 million years.[1]
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimravidae
 
2. Feliformia (also Feloidea) is a suborder within the order Carnivora consisting of "cat-like" carnivorans, including cats (large and small), hyenas, mongooses, civets, and related taxa. Feliformia stands in contrast to the other suborder of Carnivora, Caniformia ("dog-like" carnivorans). Both suborders share one characteristic which distinguishes Carnivora from all other mammals: the possession of the four carnassial teeth.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feliformia

3. Barbourofelidae is an extinct family of mammalian carnivores of the suborder Feliformia that lived in North America, Eurasia and Africa during the Miocene epoch (16.9—9.0 Ma) and existed for about 7.9 million years.[2] Barbourofelidae was previously classified as a subfamily of the extinct Nimravidae, but is now thought to be taxonomically closer to the Felidae than to the Nimravidae, and has subsequently been reranked as a distinct family by Morlo et al. (2004).
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barbourofelidae

In conclusion, no, Barbourofelis was not a true cat, but it was more related with modern cats than with the Nimravidae. Antón include it in his book of 2013, that is why I include it here, but at the end, it seems that his was just an extinct group of predators with bodies that looked like that of modern cats.


Last Edited By: GuateGojira Feb 28 14 10:46 PM. Edited 1 time.

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