Pneumothorax as a predatory goal for the sabertooth cat (Smilodon fatalis)


Smilodon fatalis was a large extinct felid distinguished by their two impressive maxillary canines and surprisingly low canine fracture rates. Previous theories regarding their attack strategy have suggested delivering damage by a bite with their maxillary canines. It has also been previously suggested that the canines could have been used to deliver a non-biting stab with an open jaw. It has been generally hypothesized that the attack was delivered to the neck of their large herbivore prey. Smilodon fatalis could have used their canines in a non-biting stab delivered with a closed jaw for the sole purpose of creating a pneumothorax. Creation of a pneumothorax would maximize immediate attack lethality, and minimize exposure of its canines to fracture.

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Wilson, T. , Wilson, D. and Zimanske, J. (2013) Pneumothorax as a predatory goal for the sabertooth cat (Smilodon fatalis). Open Journal of Animal Sciences, 3, 42-45. doi: 10.4236/ojas.2013.31006.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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