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    Description

    A COMPLETE SKELETON REPLICA OF THE GIANT SOUTH AMERICAN SABER -TOOTHED TIGER
    Smilodon populator
    Pleistocene - 200,000 Years Old
    La Paz Beds, La Paz, Uruguay


    Probably the most awe-inspiring mammal in prehistory is the great saber-toothed cat, Smilodon. With its huge lion-like body and 7 inch long serrated canines or sabers, it was a formidable killer that was most likely the top carnivore in any ancient ecosystem. Smilodon stands above all saber-cats in possessing the very largest canine teeth ever found in the fossil record. Smilodon's huge fangs were most likely used in a very specialized fashion where the neck of the prey animal was targeted so that the carotid artery and/or the windpipe would be severed by a single bite, thereby rendering the prey instantly motionless. Minimizing the struggle of dying prey is a good strategy to prevent combat injury and thus, would likely extend the life span of any predator that could develop an effective tactic that would render their prey instantly helpless. Only a very long and serrated canine would be effective for attacking huge prey with large necks, so the evolution of a giant serrated saber was necessary for this method of hunting to be successful. Smilodon fossils are regarded as the most desirable mammal fossils of all and rival the vaunted T. rex in desirability among serious fossil collectors.

    There are two types of Smilodon known: Smilodon fatalis, which is what is found at the La Brea Tar Pits and across North and Central America and Western South America, and Smilodon populator, which is known only east of the Andes Mountains, and possibly from sites in the Caribbean Isles and Florida. Smilodon populator is much larger than its American cousin; with a bigger skull and larger sabers, and bigger, stronger bones. This is probably an adaptation for taking prehistoric proboscideans (elephants) as prey. Proboscideans are very powerful animals and dangerous with their large defensive tusks, so any predator that would be hunting them would have to be extremely powerful and deadly. Proboscideans were more common in the Pleistocene of South America and thus were a plentiful food source that required special adaptations, exhibited by Smilodon populator, to exploit. One of these adaptations, in addition to their larger and more powerful build, was elongation and strengthening of the forelimbs relative to Smilodon fatalis. This adaptation would allow Smilodon populator to attack tall prey, e.g. elephants, more effectively.

    No cast replica of Smilodon populator has ever been available before, so this copy is the first one made available to the public. The original specimen resides in a private collection in China. A professionally-crafted exact replica of the largest mounted Smilodon skeleton known measuring 66 inches tall by 61 inches, front-to-back, with a 14 1/2 inch skull with 7 inch sabers. An exceptional museum display mount of a very rare saber cat.


    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    June, 2011
    12th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,212

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