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Smilodon fatalis
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.

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. 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
May, 2012
20th Sunday
Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 7
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 2,805

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