In the late 1960s, a team led by C.S. Churcher and A. MacS. Stalker collected over 1000 vertebrate fossils, mostly representing large herbivorous mammals, from bluffs along the South Saskatchewan River near Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada. The records from this area also include the only documented case of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis, but these specimens have not been described or illustrated, and therefore, their identification has never been verified. Here, all felid fossils recovered from the Medicine Hat bluffs are described and identified. We confirm the presence of the machairodontine S. fatalis and three additional taxa: the feline Lynx and the pantherines Panthera cf. P. atrox (American lion) and Panthera cf. P. spelaea (cave lion). Notably, this record of S. fatalis is its first confirmed occurrence in Canada and is a significant northerly range expansion, bringing the global distribution of this species in line with what is typical for a large felid. Should the tentative record of Panthera cf. P. spelaea be correct, this would represent its first occurrence in Alberta and a southeastern range extension, bringing it into the range of P. atrox. The possible presence of both P. atrox and P. spelaea suggests that Late Pleistocene pantherine biogeography in North America may be more complex than previously believed, particularly during relatively warm interglacial periods.
Late Pleistocene records of felids from Medicine Hat, Alberta, including the first Canadian record of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis
Corresponding author: Ashley Reynolds (email: email@example.com).
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Ashley R. Reynolds, Kevin L. Seymour, David C. Evans; Late Pleistocene records of felids from Medicine Hat, Alberta, including the first Canadian record of the sabre-toothed cat Smilodon fatalis. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences ; 56 (10): 1052–1060. doi: https://doi.org/10.1139/cjes-2018-0272
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