SABER-TOOTHED CAT by Sarah L. Thomson


From the "Ancient Animals" series
by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 6 - 9
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The Ancient Animals series continues with a look at what’s known about the saber-toothed cats that lived thousands of years ago.

An imagined hunting scene kicks off this introduction to saber-toothed cats, a well-camouflaged Smilodon fatalis hiding under a bush while a bear, a lion and two wolves pass by (all in the same illustration). A bison is the cat’s prey. Using its strong legs and sharp claws, the cat drags down the bison, killing it with either a bite to the throat or a slash to the bison’s stomach or side. Thomson goes on to explain how we know so much about these ancient cats: Bones found in asphalt tell us about its size, and from that, scientists can determine what it ate, how it caught its prey and a bit about its social groups. Scientists think that these cats became extinct because of competition for prey: Early humans hunted the same animals, and there was less prey to go around because a warming climate meant less grass for them to eat. Plant’s acrylic gouache illustrations are quite realistic, and each animal is helpfully labeled with its scientific name. Backmatter includes a list of other “large-toothed hunter[s]” and resources for finding out more.

A good introduction to both saber-toothed cats and paleontology. (Informational early reader. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 14th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-58089-400-5
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Charlesbridge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2014


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