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Around twelve thousand years ago, during the end of the Ice Age, the legendary saber-tooth tiger, became extinct. Saber tooth tigers are first thought to have existed around 55 million years ago. They lived in both North and South America, and lived alongside wholly mammoths and other creatures that are also extinct today.


Though this prehistoric mammal has “tiger” in its name, it actually was nothing like tigers today, and therefore is not classified in the same family. In fact, it may have been bear-like in build than cat-like! The “saber tooth” part of the name came from their elongated canine teeth, which could grow to eight inches long. Their long teeth were visible even when their mouths were closed. These massive cats, which could weigh up to 650 pounds, probably preyed upon bison, deer, and camels. They lived in forests or grasslands and could live up to forty years.


Scientists disagree concerning why saber-tooth tigers became extinct. Some attribute their extinction to climate change, as they went extinct around the end of the Ice Age. Others believe that people hunted them to extinction.