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Dinofelis

Dinofelis

Dinofelis was a large sabre toothed cat, with a very wide distribution across Europe, Africa, North America and Asia, represented by as many as four subspecies. It was a highly adapted and highly successful member of its family, and would have been a common element within many environmental ecosystems within its range, during the relatively extensive (for big cats) period of time. Dinofelis, literally means 'Terrible Cat', as a Greco-Latin combination name.

DescriptionEdit

Large upper canines, indicated an active predator, with a powerful bite force, with the purpose of penetrating the skulls of its prey, to swiftly render the prey immobile and non-threatening to the condition of the Dinofelis. Indeed, there have been many grizzly palaeontological and archaeological discoveries of caves, which have been filled with countless skeletal remains of predated animals, from antelope to baboons, from extinct ungulates to (quite disturbingly) our early hominid ancestors, the Australopithicenes. Debate has ensued over the true implications of such cave 'bonebeds' or 'graveyards', however, in spite of them being possibly acculmulations over thousands of years rather than a Dinofelis lifetime of years, it is generally accepted that these caves must have been the dens of at least some specimens of the Dinofelis species. Few could argue that this gracile yet certainly powerful predator, would have had the tools and the biomechanical strength to indeed attack relatively large prey (in comparison to its own size) and to drag them into areas considerable distances from the sites of the kills. On this note, Dinofelis must have been an ambush predator - not built for sustained high velocity attacks, but more realistically adapted for short range, brief but intense bursts of speed to strike a killer blow to the skulls of prey items. Dinofelis could well be compared with the modern day example of the Leopard (and Jaguar perhaps) One could even imagine it this way; Dinofelis was the sleek and quite large Leopard of its family, and something like the later Smilodon (either subspecies) could be seen as the great, hulking and huge heavyweight Lion of the family. In short, however, in its time, Dinofelis filled the role of both, in a manner of speaking - it represented the peak of the family in its time, and though smaller and weaker than later forms that only filled particular niches (like Smilodon, that of local apex predators) Dinofelis was truly a generalist to human eyes, being the apex predator, ambush predator, scavenger and probably nocturnal stalker all as one. Dinofelis was a terror to the primates of Africa, and must have been a horrific and grimly familiar menace to the Australopithicines. It lived alongside the first Leopards, and had a similar yet subtly different lifestyle - it was the heavyweight predator in Africa, whereas the Leopards hunted smaller prey.

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