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Lot
49223

GIANT SABER-TOOTHED TIGER SKULL CAST. ...

2012 May 20 Natural History & Fine Minerals Signature Auction- New York #6068

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Auction Ended On: May 20, 2012
Item Activity: 7 Internet/mail/phone bidders
2,414 page views
Location: Center 548
548 W. 22nd St.
New York, NY 10011

Description:
GIANT SABER-TOOTHED TIGER SKULL CAST
Smilodon fatalis
Pleistocene
Rancho La Brea Formation, Los Angeles, California, USA
The epitome of North American fossils, the Smilodon is the Official State Fossil of California and one of the most sought-after of all prehistoric relics. Unfortunately, most collectors will rarely even get the chance to acquire one, never mind be able to afford those rare specimens that come on the market. The next best thing, however, is a museum-quality cast such as the present example. The great appeal of these Ice Age predators is of course their amazing teeth. The evolution of these exaggeratedly elongated canines is seen only in the Smilodon and a few other large, extinct Felidae (true cats). The Smilodon is the emblem of them all. These teeth would have been fragile appendages, however. It is supposed that rather than stabbing or ripping, these animals would have wielded them in fact more like actual sabers, using them to slash at their prey, presumably to make a quick severance of the windpipe or jugular. This spectacular cast was made from a particularly large and fine original, from the famed La Brea Tar Pit Formation of southern California, with superb bone texture, finished in a dramatic patination of dark woody brown and black. The ivory white teeth provide a striking contrast to, particularly the fine sabers, each 6⅛ inches long. The whole museum-quality skull measures 13¾ inches long and stands 13¼ inches high overall on a perspex stand.

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