A pair of saber-toothed cat fossils were recently discovered in the hills just north of Las Vegas.
According to RGJ.com, the two fossils were found by a research team from the San Bernardino County Museum of California in June. Researchers have now identified the fossils as two front leg bones of a saber-tooth cat.
Kathleen Springer, a senior curator for the museum, said that the team was confident that saber-toothed tigers once roamed the Las Vegas area despite the fact that a fossil had never been found. Mammoths, camels, and bison all roamed the area, and researchers have long believed that the animals were preyed upon by the saber-toothed tiger.
“We knew it had to be there. There was all this amazing lunch everywhere.”
Springer said that the saber-toothed cat fossils are the first to be found in the area. The research team initially thought that they may belong to a mountain lion, but Eric Scott, the museum’s curator of paleontology, said that “they were way too big” to be from a modern cat.
Scott compared the bones to other modern day animals but then decided to look at the fossils of extinct animals. He brought the fossils to the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles and discovered that he was holding a pair of saber-toothed cat fossils.
Scott said, “To come up with a meat-eater (fossil) at all is unusual. It showcases the significance of the site, even in terms of the rare animals … We’re pretty excited about it.”
According to Boston.com, the saber-toothed cat fossils found in Las Vegas are believed to be about 15,590 years old.