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UF researcher describes new 5-million-year-old saber-toothed cat from Florida
Date:3/14/2013

structor at Marshall University School of Medicine in Huntington, W. Va., said the study helps settle the debate about whether the tribe arose from the Eurasia before coming to North America.

"I think that this revision was well-needed," Meachen said. "The fact that it's one of the oldest lineages is really interesting because that means that this exciting group of saber-toothed cats really is a North American tribe -- it evolved and persisted in North America."

Since 1915, more than 60 new species of reptiles, birds and mammals have been named from Central Florida phosphate mines, located southeast of Tampa and south of Lakeland. Rhizosmilodon lived in a forested coastal habitat that was also home to rhinos, tapirs, three-toed horses, peccaries, llamas and deer. Its relatively small size probably allowed it to climb trees and safely hide captured prey from large carnivores, such as packs of wolf-sized hyena-dogs and an extinct type of bear larger than the modern grizzly.


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Contact: Richard Hulbert
rhulbert@flmnh.ufl.edu
352-273-1821
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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