Deviation Actions

TheSax66's avatar



My own interpretation of a newly, bit controversial theory regarding the canines of the famous saber toothed cat. Can't say I'm much of an expert on the subject, but the need for protection and overall fragility of the teeth make me feel that some form of sheathing, wether it be from the upper or lower lips, was liklier than fully exposed canines. Regardless, I quite like the bulldogesque design, and perhaps a slightly more traditionally "realistic" approach might make it seem more palatable to the general audience.

Here is the blog post:

Painting is a bit blotchy as I didn't really intend for this to be a finished piece, so apologies if it looks a bit rushed in places.

hope you guys like it, Be sure to watch me and check out my tumblr and facebook as well, for more of my work!

If you like my work, and feel you have an interesting idea that you would like to see me reproduce, I am open to commisions! If you like Dinosaurs, Pokemon, Historical Recreation, or similar what have you's, feel free to contact me!
Image details
Image size
2500x2500px 3 MB
© 2016 - 2022 TheSax66
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
srjf1's avatar
Dionette's avatar

Looks weird, but then again, nature doesn't really care. Maybe Smilodon looked more like Thylacosmilus than we think? I don't know, it's hard to tell sometimes. Hippos and clouded leopards are able to hide large teeth and yet Tasmanian devil canines can poke out below the lips. I think these sabers were exposed, to some degree at least (like up to half the length of the canine beyond the gum-line). It might be that they were more tusk-like than just enamel teeth, except that they weren't being used for digging or non-hunting combat the way that elephants, boars, and other tusked animals use them. Possible? Smilodon's such a unique feline.

Markybo-Jens's avatar

a bulldog cat.. nice!!!

SilverGriffinflare's avatar

Interesting idea! I guess until we know what the teeth were used for it's hard to say if they were exposed or covered!

WWCB's avatar

The cryptic Ennedi "tiger" from Africa most likely proves the previous non-bulldog look to be true.

V4Zi0's avatar

It doesn't prove anything because it doesn't exist, that's why it's considered a cryptid and the group of saber-toothed felines are American, that is, this is nothing more than an urban legend

WWCB's avatar

Being a cryptid doesn't mean that it has been confirmed to NOT exist. The status of a cryptid is in between real and imaginary, for we don't know which side it's in yet. Its existence may not yet be officially proven, but neither has its supposed status of being imaginary. How could you not know that?

You also forget about all sabretooths from outside the New World, such as Machairodus and the Old World scimitar-toothed types of sabretooths, like the Old World kinds of Homotherium, Dinofelis, and Megantereon.

Oh yeah, and "Urban" implies that it's spoken of in cities. The Ennedi sabretooth is spoken of mostly by nonurban folks.

WDGHK's avatar
Oh, I forgot, this used to be a thing. And now I'm one of the "I told you so" guys in the aftermath.
Teratosaur's avatar

I'm fine with the lips, but I can't get the jaguar/leopards-style spots for what was a species specialised to open grasslands rather then dense woodland or forest*. Tiger-like stripes or spots more like a juvenile lion's might be more appropriate.

And yeah, I know those two can live in grasslands and other open ecosystems, but still.

Brutonyx's avatar
Good restoration, but the fact is, the lipped model requires a level of soft-tissue lippage which not only opposes the feline EPB, but would be unprecedented among any living mammal. How would lips of that size actually function? It's difficult to imagine how the obicularis oris would work in this model: this would be enormous, dropping ring of muscle around the mouth, and I'm not sure how it could be cleared from the teeth when biting and feeding, assuming normal principles of mammalian face musculature. It's possible that Smilodon had a unique facial myology of course, although the consistency of face muscles across mammals argues for this being unlikely. Such muscles controlling the lip would need to be very large, and it would be expected to see some indication of this on the skull itself as we do in other mammals with sophisticated facial soft-tissues (like trunks and proboscides). Generations of people who know carnivoran anatomy very well have pored over machairodont skulls and never commented on such features.
Regarding a lower lip coverage, it must be noted that most carnivorous mammals hava very large, fleshy upper lips over thinner, tightly-bound soft tissues of the lower jaw, so unless Smilodon and kin had lip anatomy completely unlike their modern relatives, their canine teeth must have been exposed (Witton 2018). Of course there's the exception of the clouded leopard, which sheaths a long set of canines in its lower jaw, but they're not even close to the size of Smilodon's sabers.
Regarding canine configuration, while it's likely that Smilodon canine function lacks exact modern functional analogues, the sabre teeth of tusked deer are not too far off in terms of physical demand (being routinely used in aggressive, tissue-tearing fights that leave victims scarred and wounded) and anatomy (thin layers of enamel over much of the tooth - Smilodon canines are not thickly enamelled), and still these animals have them exposed.
As a general rule, especially long teeth which project a considerable distance from the margins of the skull and lower jaw should be considered strong candidates for permanent exposure.
BloodStalker500's avatar
Kind of weird-looking, but then again, practical (usually) beats appearances in the animal kingdom.
TheSax66's avatar
Seems likely that it didn't have the jowls in the end sadly, hehe.
FluffyRex's avatar
Jon, I either consume Lasagna or Your Flesh.
WP21's avatar
It looks like Garfield 
BillyCreator1999's avatar
He's similar to a bulldog
Philoceratops's avatar
Give him some lasagna...

Very nice!
Dinogeek2207's avatar
Grumpy cat’s grandfather
dinomaster15's avatar
I mean, I agree completely, but it looks really freakin weird
SilverDragon234's avatar
Might I ask why the big lips? Most people tend to give it the standard lip size as with all cats.
BloodStalker500's avatar
Apparently, scientists now believe that because the famous giant "sabers" were actually quite fragile, Smilodon had some form of sheathing to protect its large and fragile teeth, which were likely in the form of big lips. Whether it was the upper or lower lips is unknown, but it's likelier that it was the upper lips that sheathed its giant "saber teeth".
SilverDragon234's avatar
Not the case in the games and movies the Smilo appears in. No offense, please, most people often give it the regular lips to make it as menacing as ten tigers.
Burksaurus's avatar
That's pretty interesting. I prefer Smilodon having lips because it looks more realistic.
TheSax66's avatar
I agree though I'm consistantly feeling more inclined to lower lip pockets.
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In