Morphological convergence obscures functional diversity in sabre-toothed carnivores

Stephan Lautenschlager, Stephan Lautenschlager, Borja Figueirido, Daniel Cashmore, Eva-Maria Bendel & Thomas Stubbs
The acquisition of elongated, sabre-like canines in multiple vertebrate clades during the last 265 million years represents a remarkable example for convergent evolution. Due to striking superficial similarities in the cranial skeleton, the same or similar skull and jaw functions have been inferred for sabre-toothed species and interpreted as an adaptation to subdue large-bodied prey. However, although some sabre-tooth lineages have been classified into different ecomorphs (dirk-tooths and scimitar-tooths) the functional diversity within and between...
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