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Megafauna Ideas: mammalian carnivores
jorzek01: Hello all! Its been awhile since I've been on the forum, I had just started a new job and fear I might be ill. Either way, I've been thinking a lot about Neocene ideas recently and wanted to get back to some of my creatures. In particular I wanted to discuss one of my old ideas: the Verdugo, the Falx Toothed Cat of North and Central America! I had mentioned this creature before in the "Neocene Florida Expanded" thread, and I have done a bit of work on it recently. The idea for this creature came from my research into Ice Age Megafauna and saber toothed cats of the Homotheri tribe. These cats, also called "Scimitar toothed cats", were very successful in the Pleistocene and one genus, Homotherium was believed to be an active predator of young Mammoths and Mastodons. Another called Xenosmilus or the "Cookie Cutter Cat" is famous for its mouth of highly serrated teeth and build, which was somewhat in between that of the Scimitar tooths (like Homotherium) and the Dirk tooths (like Smilodon). I've done research on all of the fauna and climate of Neocene North America, including predators and believe that one of my creatures, Rhomphaiadon Verdugo could be a good fit. The Verdugo (Rhomphaiadon Verdugo) [more]Order: Carnivora Family: Felidae Range: Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America from the southern shores of Mishe-Nama lake to northern Mexico. Temperate and subtropical latitudes. Due to the activities of humans in the Holocene, many large predatory megafauna went extinct. Included in these were some of the large predatory felids that once stalked the landscape. As a result almost all of the big cats have gone extinct: only in Zinj land the descendants of the Leopard remain apex predators, while descendants of the Puma continue to survive in the Americas giving rise to the Raptor Cats of South America. However felids were able to make a comeback in the Neocene due to the success of smaller cats. Before the rise of humanity the fauna of predatory mammals was far more diverse. In fact after the extinction of the sabre toothed cats at the end of the Pleistocene, the world did not have a single large saber tooth predator for the fist time since the time of the dinosaurs. With the extinction of humans new creatures have taken this niche: in Siberia the descendants of the Lynx have evolved into large saber toothed cats hunting the migratory megafauna. In the prairies of North America this niche was taken by the descendants of the Coyote, who have given rise to the Royal Saber toothed Coyote. In the forests of North America's eastern seaboard another sabretooth predator has arisen: the Verdugo. During the Pleistocene there were two main groups of Saber tooth cats: the Dirk tooth cats, with had long fangs and short, stout bodies designed for ambush. This group included cats such as Smilodon and Megantereon. The other were the Scimitar toothed cats. These felids had comparatively shorter, but more robust fangs. While most of these cats had slimmer bodies designed for running down prey, a few such as Xenosmilus had stout constitutions like the Dirk toothed variety. The Verdugo of the Neocene has attributes shared by both varieties: while it is equipped with shorter blade-like canines like the Scimitar toothed cats, it has a muscular body like the Dirk Tooths. This cat has a short, compact body similar to a Jaguar, with a relatively short tail, stocky legs and muscular forelimbs. Males average about 140 kgs and females are about 130 kgs, similar in size to a lioness. The largest males can reach up to 200 kgs, although this is not common. The Verdugo's dewclaws are enlarged, though not to the same extent as those seen in the Daggerclaw cats of Eurasia. Unlike the fighting claw of the Daggerclaw cats, the Verdugo's enlarged dewclaws are designed for grappling with prey rather than tearing flesh. The Verdugo is a good climber, although it hunts on the ground. It has a large head, with an elongated muzzle. It's canines are about 13 cms long, which while longer than any modern cat are shorter than other saber tooths, such as the Siberian Saber tooth, Messepecho or Sabre Tooth Coyote. Its incisors are relatively long and serrated, while the lower canines are somewhat reduced in size and the premolars have been enlarged. What sets the Verdugo apart from other Neocene felids is that all of its teeth are serrated, not just the canines and incisors. It's robust skull and powerful neck muscles allow this cat to drive its teeth deep into its prey, inflicting hideous injuries. Due to these characteristics the Verdugo's hunting strategy is very different from that of other felids. Modern big cats use their bite to try and suffocate their prey, while saber tooths use their bodies to wrestle their prey to the ground and finish it off with their canines. In contrast, the Verdugo is a bite and retreat predator, similar to sharks and carnosaurian dinosaurs like Allosaurus (Xenosmilus of the Pliestocene also used a similar strategy). An ambush hunter, the Verdugo will sneak up on its prey from behind, using its powerful forelimbs and enlarged dewclaw to grab onto the prey, while the cat drives its serrated teeth deep into the victim's flesh before retreating into the underbrush. It will then wait for their victim to succumb from blood loss, before moving in to finish off the kill. After eating its fill, the Verdugo will then dismember the carcass and proceed to move chunks of meat into its lair, usually up a tree or inside of a cave. Although these cats can climb, their large size prevents them from hunting effectively in the tree tops. As a result, the Verdugo only uses trees as lairs to sleep and hide their kills in. The Verdugo is a social animal that lives in small family groups of between 2 to 6 adults. These groups consist of a single large male, a few females and their offspring. Some males are migratory, and travel long distances before finding a territory of their own. Males will have a large home range that will overlap with that of several females. While largely solitary, these cats will gather together in packs on occasion to take on larger herbivores, similar to a few species of modern cats. This social structure allows this felid to take on prey much larger than itself, in particular the massive descendants of peccaries and rodents that call the coastal forests of North America home. Mating takes place during the early spring. The females will mate with the reigning male of the region during this time, giving birth to a litter of between 2 to 4 cubs three months later. The cubs will remains with their mother for the first three years of life before leaving to establish territories of their own. While females will generally establish their territory in the same area, young males will migrate vast distances in search of a new territory. This is because while Verdugo males are tolerant of females, they are fiercely territorial toward other males and will aggressively drive them off from their territory, including their own offspring. A young male will live a migratory lifestyle for many years before finding a territory of its own, usually at the expense of another established male. As a result most females in a given region are related, but males tend to come from far away from their place of birth. This also leads to a large discrepancy between the life expectancy between males and females: while a female can live up to fifteen years, males usually die at a much younger age. Many males are killed in fights with other males over females and territory, and as a result it is rare for males to live past 10 years. This species is found throughout North America, but is absent from the prairies, deserts and mountains of the west and center of the continent. Its preferred habitat includes forest, woodlands, savannas with tall grasses, xerophylic bush and coastal plains in temperate and sub-tropical latitudes. An ambush predator, the Verdugo prefers habitat with ample cover to hide its movements from prey and becomes increasingly rare the more open the landscape becomes. In the prairies and mountains west of the Mississippi river the niche of apex predator is filled by the giant Coyotes such as the saber toothed Atshehaske and the massive Nearctic Hyaena Tooth. They also share their habitat with several other predators, including the Yaraha. However these two predators fill different niches: while the Verdugo specializes in larger, thicker skinned herbivores, the Yaraha is generalist that typically takes on smaller prey.[/more]
Ответов - 1
Биолог: jorzek01 Hi and welcome back! Although, the topic you've started is too narrow, I would widen it deleting exact species, since it is not dedicated to a single species. Also, I've hidden the long text of the description. Click the blue link "Скрытый текст" ("Hidden text") to expand it. Verdugo is OK, I rush to add it to the catalogue.
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