Pleistocene Era - Ice Age Cats
A variety of large cats roamed North America during the Pleistocene, which included events from 1.8 million to about 10,000 years ago. Extensive migration took place during that time. Some of the species that inhabited parts of North America during the end of the Pleistocene era were saber-toothed cats, the American lion(Panthera leo atrox),jaguars(Felis conea), and American cheetah."We know of their existence through the discoveries of fossils"(Livingston 1970).
       "Smilodon, one of the saber-toothed cats, did not need to be huge in stature to be colossally efficient...The big cat, which in general appearance may have looked more like a bobcat than a tiger, persisted in North America until well into the ice ages"(Livingston 1970). The saber-toothed cats are known, through fossil records, to have evolved about ten genera(Busch 1996).
       "Bodies of the saber-toothed tiger, the dire wolf and many other animals have been recovered from the amazing tar pit of Ranchero La Brea in California"(The Grolier Society of Canada 1956).
       "At about the end of the ice ages, North America lost about 70% of its large mammals.Not only did the horses and camels, mammoths and mastodons disappear, but also large ground sloths, a southern musk ox, two kinds of swine and saber-toothed cats, the dire wolf, the giant beaver- over one hundred in all...In fact, the invasion of the continent by man coincides almost perfectly with the disappearance not only of the largest herbivorous mammals, but also with the disappearance of their predators...Along the Old Crow River in the Yukon, C.R. Harington of the National Museum and P.Lord came upon some telling evidence in 1966...Also in the same era, associated with human artifacts, were remains of the extinct giant beaver, one of the extinct lion-like cats, mastodon, extinct horse, camel and long-horned bison"(Livingston 1970).
        Despite the cougar being referred to as a mountain lion, the cougar is related to the cheetah species, not the lion species. The fossil of an American cheetah was discovered near Winnemucca Lake, Nevada. "The saber-toothed cats and the giant jaguar are gone, but we still have the cougar"(Livingston 1970). -------JH
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