A new saber-toothed tiger species, named Felipeda miramarensis, was found in Miramar, in Argentina, after the researchers analyzed a set of 30,000-year-old fossilized footprints, the first found worldwide. The scientists also managed to describe with greater precision how the Smilodon walked and how it attacked its prey.
Dr. Federico Agnolin, researcher at the Argentine Museum of Natural Sciences, said that they were “lucky enough to find the footprints of several animals, birds, also the first worldwide record of Smilodon footprints, which is the recognized saber-toothed tiger that inhabited the Pampas region and much of Americas until about 10,000 years ago.”
“This discovery took place a few meters from the Miramar dock, in strata that correspond to the beach of a small lagoon that was on that site more than 30,000 years ago,” said the lead author of the study published in the scientific journal Ichnos.
New saber-toothed tiger species found in Miramar thanks to a set of fossilized footprints
The paleontologist valued that “these tracks show us how the new species of saber-toothed tiger or Smilodon walked and allowed us to infer what the shape of his body was like; having the footprints, we can get a little more information about how he was in life.”
According to the researchers, the fossilized footprints show that the anterior part of the body was much more robust in this new Smilodon species and that the front legs were more massive than the other two, which is typical for predators.
“He would jump on the prey and try knocking them down with his front legs and then feed on them. Moreover, these animals, in general, are not good runners like the cheetah that runs to their prey for a long distance and reaches them at great speed, but was waiting for them crouching,” said Dr. Agnolin.
The fossilized footprints of the new saber-toothed tiger were found in 2015 by Mariano Magnussen and Daniel Boh of the Punta Hermengo Municipal Museum in Miramar. Since then, the researchers from Argentina studied the tracks.