|Mounted fossil skeleton of a Smilodon fatalis, National Museum of Natural History|
They are an extinct subfamily of mammalian carnivora of the family Felidae (true cats). They lived in Asia, Africa, North America, South America, and Europe from the Miocene to the Pleistocene. They survived from about 23 million until about 11,000 years ago.
The subfamily Machairodontinae included the famed genus Smilodon. There were also other cats with canines which were not so long, such as Homotherium. The sabretooth adaptation evolved a number of times in different carnivore lines. They were evidently very successful as ambush predators.
- Paleobiology Database: Machairodontinae basic info.
- Lars W. van den Hoek Ostende, Michael Morlo, Doris Nagel 2006. Majestic killers: the sabre-toothed cats. Geology Today. 22 #4. online