The Quaternary Great Ice Age ushered in a small wave of cold climax about 13,000 years ago, after which the temperature began to slowly rise. However, many animals have not been able to survive this period, especially those large mammals weighing more than 50 kilograms, it is a pity that they went extinct before spring, including the saber-toothed tiger.
Interestingly, some other large animals have survived. For example, the tiger, which is also a big cat, has survived to this day, although today is not very good. Many people may have been curious about the fact that the saber-toothed tiger is much stronger than the tiger in any way. Why is the saber-toothed tiger extinct, but the tiger can survive?
In fact, being strong does not mean being invincible. Because of the survival of animals in nature, in addition to their strong combat effectiveness, there are many factors that determine it. Next, let’s take a look at why the saber-toothed tiger is so powerful and extinct? What about tigers?
From the fossils of the saber-toothed tiger, the body length of the saber-toothed tiger is not as large as the existing cat lion tiger, only about 2 meters. It may be that the canine teeth of the saber-toothed tiger are more than ten centimeters long. They are very powerful and always give people a stronger than modern tigers. Feel. The skull of a saber-toothed tiger is much larger than that of a tiger and a lion. The reason is that the saber-toothed tiger has fangs (upper canine teeth) about 12 cm long. The longer upper canine teeth require sufficient head muscles and space for display.
First of all, in terms of flexibility, the tiger is definitely stronger than the saber-toothed tiger, because the saber-toothed tiger is a guy with a short tail, similar to the current hyena, it is not good at running and maintaining body balance, so its hunting method is relatively simple and straightforward. It must throw its prey down and use its canine teeth to directly pierce the neck or head of the prey to kill it. Therefore, the prey of saber-toothed tigers are the larger herbivores such as wild deer, bison, etc. These prey are a bit cumbersome. But tigers have a long tails. The Siberian tiger has a tail of 1 meter. The long tail provides balance to the tiger. They are good at running and are as flexible as a cat. So tigers can hunt smaller animals。
Then there is the bite force. The bite force of the tiger is also greater than that of the saber-toothed tiger. The saber-toothed tiger has a blade-like canine tooth, reaching more than ten centimeters. It seems that the longest fossil record is 28 centimeters, which is indeed too domineering. Although the upper canine teeth of a saber-toothed tiger are much longer than those of a tiger, too-long teeth are not conducive to hunting. Because too long teeth are likely to be broken by the prey’s bones when biting into the prey’s body. In fact, it is not difficult to find that if their mouths are only as big as tigers or lions, their long fangs will be obstacles. Therefore, saber-toothed tigers can open their mouths up to 120 degrees, just like modern snakes, which reduces their bite. force. But they seldom use bite force to kill opponents. From the fossil record, they have very developed necks. When they hunt animals, they are probably relying on the strength of the neck to pierce their “saber teeth” into the neck of their prey. They come to kill their prey because the saber-toothed tiger’s prey is big enough, so they really need this kind of teeth to kill the prey. Tigers do not have such long fangs, but their bite force is stronger. They can bite their prey firmly and prevent the prey from breaking free. This is especially effective for hunting small prey.
If the saber-toothed tigers were replaced by a strong bite force to bite their prey, instead of piercing deeper to quickly kill the prey, they are likely to be “anti-killed” by these large prey.
The extinction of the saber-toothed tiger occurred during the last ice age of the most recent great ice age. Many of the large animals that saber-toothed tigers could hunt at that time were extinct due to the decline of species at the bottom of the food chain. It is obvious that small animals are more likely to survive the ice age, and saber-toothed tigers may not be able to hunt these small animals. The success rate of tigers in hunting small animals is indeed higher than that of saber-toothed tigers, so tigers are more likely to survive, and saber-toothed tigers are extinct because they cannot catch prey.
But having said that, why can other saber-toothed tigers survive the ice age, but can’t survive the recent ice age?
In fact, it is easy to think that humans have begun to seriously affect the surrounding environment. Humans 10,000 years ago already knew how to use spears and even bows and arrows to hunt. Although it is basically impossible for humans to regard the saber-toothed tiger as a hunting target, the saber-toothed tiger is relatively dangerous. It is certain that it will be driven away by humans, and the living space will be constantly squeezed. The other is that humans hunted herbivores, making it difficult for the saber-toothed tiger to hunt, and eventually leading to extinction.
Why did the tiger not go extinct?
In fact, the reason is very simple, they are evolving. With the growth of herbivores at the end of the Pliocene, tigers also increased their weight and body length to better hunt, and in the process of evolution, tigers have mastered the skill to lock the throat. Even large herbivores cannot escape death if they are bitten through their necks. In addition, the increase in the size of the tiger itself also increases the cold tolerance, which can be seen from the environment in which the Siberian tiger inhabits.
Therefore, the tiger still exists after the saber-toothed tiger became extinct. This is due to the tiger’s own adaptability and evolutionary ability.
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