Tseng’s Study of Saber-Toothed Skull Fossil Aids in Understanding of Killing Techniques

Updated December 6, 2016

A newly described fossil skull from one of the largest of the saber-toothed cats is helping scientists understand the diversity of killing techniques used by these extinct and fearsome predators.

The surface of bones preserves ridges and bumps that indicate where muscles once attached, so paleontologists and anatomists can reconstruct the lines of action of the major muscle groups," said Jack Tseng, PhD, assistant professor of pathology and anatomical sciences.

"The joints of the jaw — one on each side between the upper and lower jaws, and one down the middle between the two halves of the lower jaw — provide clues as to the mobility and range of motion possible in the animal’s bite,” he said.