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.
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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.
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.
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.