|Period||Middle Miocene-Pleistocene epochs of the Cenozoic Era|
|Location||Europe, Asia, Africa and North America|
|Length||About 1-1.2 metres at the shoulder and up to 2.5 metres (8 feet) long|
Machairodus was a genus of large machairodontine sabre-toothed tigers that lived North America during the Pleistocene living from 11.6 million yeas ago—126,000 years ago, existing for approximately 11.5
Paleontologists have discovered the remains of a large saber-toothed tiger in the Taurus-Menella in Africa, known as Machairodus kabir. The weight of this animal is estimated at 350 kg. The height at the withers was probably about 130 cm, which is comparable with the largest Cave Lion (Panthera (Leo) Spelaea) and the American Lion (Panthera (Leo) Atrox).
The fossil species assigned to the genus Machairodus were divided by Turner into two grades of evolutionary development - M. aphanistus and the North American "Nimravides" catacopis representing the more primitive grade, and M. coloradensis and M. giganteus representing the more derived grade. The characteristics of the more advanced grade include a relative elongation of the forearm and a shortening of the lumbar region of the spine to resemble that in living pantherine cats. These trends would be taken further in Homotherium, which is thought to have evolved from Machairodus.
You can tell a lot about a by the shape of its limbs. Clearly, the squat, muscular prehistoric cat by the shape of the fore and hind legs of Machairodus that weren't suited for high-speed chases, leading paleontologists to infer that this saber-toothed cat leaped on its prey suddenly from high trees, wrestled it to the ground, punctured its jugular with its large, sharp canines, then withdrew to a safe distance while its unfortunate victim bled to death. Machairodus is represented in the fossil record by numerous individual species, which varied widely in size and probably fur pattern ( such as stripes, spots, etc.)."Nimravides" catacopis stood about 1 m at the shoulder. Machairodus coloradensis was apparently significantly larger, about 1.2 m at the shoulder, according to skeletal and life reconstructions. If accurate, this would make M. coloradensis one of the largest felids.The skull of Machairodus was noticeably narrow compared with the skulls of modern pantherine big cats, and the orbits were relatively small. The canines were long, thin and flattened from side to side but broad from front to back like the blade of a knife, as in Homotherium. The front and back edges of the canines were serrated when they first grew, but these serrations were worn down in the first few years of the animal's life.
There was marked sexual dimorphism in Machairodus giganteus, with males much larger than females. A single fossil specimen examined by Legendre and Roth was determined to have an approximate body mass of 201.8 kg.