Facts about Thylacosmilus, an extinct prehistoric animal

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Other Prehistoric Animals   >   Thylacosmilus



Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Phylum Chordata
  Class Mammalia
  Infraclass Marsupliala
  Order Sparassodonta
  Family Thylacosmilidae
  Genus Thylacosmilus
Thylacosmilus was a genus of saber-toothed marsupial predators. They lived in South America, evolved during the Miocene epoch, perhaps 20 million years ago, and became extinct during the Pleistocene epoch, perhaps 5 million years ago.

Outwardly, Thylacosmilus had a cat-like body shape, and it particularly resembled Smilodon (the "Saber-toothed Tiger") because of its long saber-like upper canine teeth. However, it should be remembered that as a marsupial, Thylacosmilus was not closely related to either cats in general, or Smilodon in particular - and any similarities were in fact the result of convergent evolution.

Thylacosmilus saber-teeth were somewhat different from those of Smilodon, in that in Thylacosmilus, these teeth kept on growing throughout the animal's life. One other difference was that Thylacosmilus had bony flanges in its lower jaw, which would have acted as a scabbard to protect the saber-teeth, when the animal closed its mouth.

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Thylacosmilus Timeline:

Thylacosmilus was a marsupial carnivore (meat-eater) that lived between 20 and 5 million years ago

Thylacosmilus was a marsupial carnivore (meat-eater) that lived between 20 and 5 million years ago

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