This Smilodon fatalis specimen was recovered from Rancho La Brea in Los Angeles. This site is renowned for thousands of well-preserved fossils from many species buried within its sticky tar pits. Over 160,000 Smilodon bones alone, representing at least 2000 animals, have been uncovered from the tar pits at La Brea.

This skull was donated to the museum in 1953 by Professor Ruben Arthur Stirton of the University of California Museum of Palaeontology on his first visit to Australia. Stirton's expeditions to Australia uncovered previously unknown relatives of kangaroos and koalas, and his great contributions to the study of palaeontology is widely recognized.

Though commonly called 'sabre-toothed tigers', Smilodon and other sabre-toothed cats are not closely related to tigers and were not ancestors to any living cat. Named after their knife-like upper canines, they lived throughout the Americas until relatively recently, becoming extinct with the last glaciation period approximately 10,000 years ago.

Specimen Details


Geospatial Information