What Is a Sabertooth Lion?

sabertooth-lion Credit: Heraldo Mussolini/Stocktrek Images/Stocktrek Images/Getty Images

A sabertooth lion, also known as a Smilodon, is a prehistoric animal often referred to as a sabertooth tiger. Smilodons became extinct approximately 10,000 years ago, although fossil discoveries show that they lived lives that were similar to the lions of today.

Sabertooth lion fossils have been found in North America and parts of Europe. The fossils show that sabertooth lions were approximately a foot longer and almost twice as heavy as modern lions. The fossils also show that sabertooth lions often suffered from a number of debilitating wounds, such as crushing or fracture injuries, crippling arthritis and other degenerative diseases. The wounds also showed significant healing and regrowth. This indicates that the animals survived for some time after their injuries. Solitary animals that sustained these types of injuries would likely not have survived long on their own. As such, it is believed that they lived in packs.