Many Iowans are shocked and surprised to hear that mountain lions are once again roaming our state. But imagine running into a saber-tooth tiger while out deer hunting, or on a hike. The animal is one of the most iconic animals from the ice age, and now scientists can prove that they once called Iowa home.

WHO reports that a skull of a saber tooth tiger was discovered in Iowa back in 2017 in the southwest part of the state. Dr. Matt Hill and Dr. David Easterla have waited until now to make their discovery known. Hill told WHO that tests had to be done on the skull to confirm its identity and to get a comprehensive report on the specimen. Hill stated that finding a skull like this in Iowa is a big deal.

These specimens don’t come along every day, especially outside of southern California, so to find one in Iowa is very, very special.

The Iowa saber tooth tiger was around 2 years old and weighed some 500 pounds. WHO reports that remains of the big cats have only been discovered in around 70 places in the United States. A skull this complete has never been found this far east of Los Angeles.

YouTube via WHO13
YouTube via WHO13

Dr. Hill told WHO that the Iowa saber tooth tiger was most likely one of the last cats to walk the earth in the Western Hemisphere. He added that the cats would often hunt the giant mammoths that also populated the state during the ice age. An amazing part of natural history discovered right here in Iowa.

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