Friday, July 6, 2012

Where Did All the Saber-Tooth Tigers Go?

Actual picture I took of a Saber Tooth Tiger.  I found him right after I had a nice conversation with Bigfoot.  OK, just kidding.  But really, where did all the Saber Tooth Cats go???
Where did all the Saber-Tooth Tigers go?  And while we're at it, where did all the Wholly Mammoths, Giant Sloths, and other giant mammals of the Ice Age go?  That's a good question, one that no one really knows for sure, simply because there was no one around at the time to write down what happened.  There were people around at this time would have actually observed these extinctions, they just couldn't write at that time.  The odd thing is, when these extinctions were taking place people were moving into, and expanding rapidly across the North American continent.  The obvious explanation might be that these giant mammals went extinct because of all the people moving into the continent.  However, the people were also moving into the continent because of a recent warming in the climate.  So maybe the animals went extinct because of the change in climate.  There are several explanations for these extinctions which scientists have hotly debated for decades.  Lets take a look at a few of the more prominent ones.

The most widely known explanation for the extinction of large mammals at the end of the Ice Age is over hunting by humans who recently colonized the continent.  This is a very simple explanation, humans, new to the continent simply hunted the large mammals until there where no more.  The problem with this hypothesis is that the human population was probably not dense enough to exert such a huge hunting pressure.

A second explanation is the climate change at the end of the Ice Age.  Warming caused a change in the available food for all animals.  This caused starvation of large herbivorous mammals, therefore causing the predators to starve also.

A third explanation is that when humans invaded the continent, they altered the ecosystem so that it could no longer support many large mammals.  Of course hunting played a role in this, but also as humans consumed plants, and used fire to alter the ecosystem.  As humans ate certain plants, animals had to change their food sources.  As humans burned areas with fire, say changing a forest into a grassland, only certain animals could survive.  Basically, humans altered the ecosystem in ways that changed food chains, causing some animals to die off and others to thrive.

A fourth explanation is the most complex.  It is that all three of the above played a role in the extinction of large Ice Age mammals.  Through a combination of a warming climate changing food sources for animals, hunting by humans, and human alteration of ecosystems by use of fire and harvesting of plants and animals, large mammals went extinct.  This seems to be the latest consensus of the scientific community.  Different species of animals would have gone extinct as a result of different factors.  Some may have been hunted to extinction, others died as their food source changed, and others died as their ecosystem changed.

All this has huge implications for our world today.  Today again we are going though a change in the climate.  Plants and animals are having to adjust what they eat and where they live as the weather warms.  Humans also are changing the landscape in very drastic ways, also causing animals and plants to change where they live.  Basically, those that are able to survive and adapt to these changes will survive.  Those that can't will die off.

Oh-ya, there is another explanation for the Saber-Tooth Tiger that a few people support.  That is, that the Saber-Tooth Tiger is still living today, probably hidden away in some remote forest cave as a pet of Bigfoot or the Lock ness Monster.  Hmmm...
A man about to be eaten by a Saber Tooth Cat.  The man has no idea what's coming.


  1. I will like to share an amazing video on Saber Tooth Tiger

  2. Dear Matt,

    I love the tiger photo and would love to use it for an upcoming presentation; do you own the rights to it, or do you know who does? Thank you for any guidance you may be able to provide,

    1. I am not sure where the photo came from.