Why did the sabre-toothed cats go extinct?

Question from Becky Lawrence

The jury is still out. Sabre-toothed cats disappeared at the end of the last ice age, and the most popular reason for their demise is that climate change and competition with humans meant that they struggled to find enough food. However, researchers from Vanderbilt University in the US have examined teeth preserved in the La Brea tar pits in California and they disagree. Microscopic patterns in the teeth revealed that feeding activity barely changed between 35,000 and 11,500 years ago. 

Read more: Why did cats evolve sabre teeth?


Answered by Laura Mears for Brain Dump in How It Works issue 114

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