Showing posts with label South America. Show all posts
Showing posts with label South America. Show all posts

Thylacosmilus and curious history.

When there are two animals that are very similar in weight, size, physical characteristics and occupying the same ecological niche but living in different places and have a different origin, we call this phenomenon convergent evolution. An example would be that we can illustrate the flight of pterodactyls and bats, both fly in a similar way but come from families, genera and different orders.



Well, now let's focus on the case of Thylacosmilus ... if we saw in reality, across the road in front of our house, we might seem an early saber-toothed, a prehistoric Smilodon... But although its appearance was similar, their underclass, order, family, are different Sabertooth Tiger. The Thylacosmilus had nothing to do with the Smilodon, was actually a marsupial and even looked like Sabretooth, was evolutionarily closer to that of a kangaroo Sabretooth we know.

This prehistoric animal appeared in South America about 7 million years ago, when it was an island that was separate from North America. It was stocky, though not enough the Smilodon, as large as the current Cougars and had fangs shaped knives about 15 cm, but unlike the Smilodon, Thylacosmilus fangs did not stop growing. In addition, the fangs are embedded in a cavity having the jaw bone and giving it a very peculiar appearance to its skull. In fact, its name means "pouch saber", referring to this feature.
Possibly be true that were the apex predator in South America, but this lasted until which lasted insulation island continent. This occurred in the late Pliocene and Central America new species were introduced from the north, including a saber-toothed cat but also bigger, more corpulent and willing to put at the top of the food chain. The Thylacosmilus rival, the known Smilodon, had arrived and soon took the place of the predator.

Austroraptor

 




The Austroraptor is a close relative to Velociraptor, but larger, about 20 feet long (3 times longer). His name means "thief of the South" (South raptor), such as birds, and do not put this name by chance. In a way, his appearance might remind us old birds, a predecessor to the Raptors next we Know today. His head (over 4 fts) was low, long and streamlined, provided with numerous small and conical teeth. Moreover, according to the markings found in fossils, it was covered with feathers.

This prehistoric animal called attention to the paleontologist who discovered it to see how their upper limbs were in proportion smaller than others of the same gender: their short forearms depart from the condition characteristic of all long arms and their relatives dromaeosaurids avian nearby. This would therefore be a missing link between dinosaurs and modern birds.
  Perhaps (and this is my opinion) is an example of regression, this means that they resumed their oldest species characteristics. As is the case of flightless birds also reduce its wings.

Instead, it was her hind legs which facilitated the classification of this new species, the family Dromaeosauridae or "corridors lizards." By this I mean that was a fast runner Austroraptor, who had strong back legs and he used to hunt their prey.

The Austroraptor lived 70 million years in the late Cretaceous period in what is now South America..

Glyptodon



The glyptodon, always connected with existing armadillos, a native of America. The glyptodon measured about 3 m and weighed about 1.4 t, being equivalent in size and shape to a Volkswagen Beetle. It was a herbivore and, by its constitution, it is assumed that it was not very agile. His defense against predators was based on its rigid shell. Different species are distinguished by different types of shells. Many of these shells remained empty throughout the plains of Uruguay and Argentina will likely serve as a refuge for early humans in the region.

The glyptodon is part of the group of placental mammals known as Xenarthra. This order of mammals includes armadillos, as well as several extinct species.

The glyptodon emerged in the Pliocene in South America, migrating north after, when the Isthmus of Panama joined the Americas. It is believed that they were hunted by human populations in their environment, to use the carcasses of dead animals as a refuge from hostile environments. Became extinct about 10,000 to 8,500 years.



The glyptodontes oldest known lived in the early Tertiary and were not very large. After appearing species were becoming larger, until in the Quaternary, when there were also megatherium, there were real giants who roamed in what is now Patagonia Argentina. They had a great half-shell shaped eggshell consists of many hexagonal shaped plates, round, etc.., He was locked below the animal's body with a sturdy skeleton, had a long tail, some species, finished off with barbed thick and compact.

Smilodon


The Smilodon are among the largest felids, the heaviest specimens of this massively built carnivore may have exceeded 400 kg (880 lb).


A Smilodon had a short tail, powerful legs, muscular neck and long canines. Despite being around the same size as a tiger or lion, Smilodon was more robustly built, comparable to a bear.
It shown to scale to demonstrate the compact muscular buildA fully-grown Smilodon weighed approximately 55 to 360 kg (120 to 790 lb), depending on species.



Limbs
Smilodon had relatively shorter and more massive limbs than other felines. It had well developed flexors and extensors in its forepaws,[citation needed] which enabled it to pull down large prey. The back limbs had powerfully built adductor muscles which might have helped the cat's stability when wrestling with prey. Its claws were retractable.



Teeth and jaws

They are the longest canines of the saber-toothed cats at about 28 cm (11 in) long in the largest species Smilodon populator. They were probably built more for stabbing than slashing. Despite being more powerfully built than other large cats, Smilodon actually had a weaker bite. Modern big cats have more pronounced zygomatic arches, while Smilodon had smaller zygomatic arches which restricted the thickness and therefore power of the temporalis muscles, and thus reduced Smilodon’s bite force. Analysis of its narrow jaws indicates that it could produce a bite only a third as strong as that of a lion.There seems to a be a general rule that the saber-toothed cats with the largest canines had proportionally weaker bites. However, analyses of canine bending strength (the ability of the canine teeth to resist bending forces without breaking) and bite forces indicate that saber-toothed cats' teeth were stronger relative to the bite force than those of modern "big cats". In addition, Smilodon could open its jaws 120 degrees, whereas the lion can only open its jaws to 65 degrees.



Smilodon probably preyed on a wide variety of large game including bison, Megatherium, Aurochs, deer, American camels, horses and . As it is known for the saber-toothed cat Homotherium, Smilodon might have killed also juvenile mastodons and mammoths.

Smilodon called sabre-toothed cat or sabre-toothed tiger, is an extinct genus of the subfamily machairodontine saber-toothed cats endemic to North America and South America living from the Early Pleistocene through Lujanian stage of the Pleistocene epoch (1.8 mya—10,000 years ago), existing for approximately 1.790 milion years.
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