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Health and Diet

The Sabre Toothed Cat . . . and other megafaunal carnivores.

Updated - 02 Jan 21

This page is not about something I’ve discovered, but a hypothesis that has fallen out of my investigations into ancestral human diet.

Much is made of the megafauna extinction of the late Pleistocene but the extinction of a large variety of predator species is, relatively speaking, less well publicized.

In the modern era we are left with a number of obligate and facultative carnivores capable of surviving on relatively lean prey . . . and us.

We’re the only terrestrial ‘fat hunter’ left and it’s often assumed we’re the only predator that developed such a fat dependency.

However, I’d like to know whether there is evidence that many of the predators that died out with the Pleistocene megafauna were also ‘fat hunters’.  Absent the cognitive and social capacity to find and hunt the fattiest of the smaller prey species remaining, these carnivores ran into their  physiological protein limit and died out.

It’s unlikely that a sabre-tooted cat couldn’t bring down a bison or an elk, but it’s entirely possible that they couldn’t live on the lean ones they did catch.

I look forward to digging into this subject a bit deeper!  If anyone knows of research already completed on this subject, I’d love to get a reference or two.

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