Smilodon from Scheele Family at CMNHSabre-toothed cats, those amazing icons of the Ice Ages, roamed western North America more than 10,000 years ago. Armed with long, curved, sabre-like canine teeth, these fearsome predators have captured our imaginations for decades. Join Eric Scott, the San Bernardino County Museum’s curator of paleontology, at the Victor Valley Museum on Sunday, March 16, 2014 at 2 p.m. as he discusses what we know—and what we don’t know—about these remarkable animals and their forebears, showcasing new fossil discoveries from the museum collections. This presentation is free with paid museum admission.

“When one thinks of the Pleistocene Epoch—the ‘Ice Ages’—one frequently envisions sabre-toothed cats,” said Scott. “If you’re a paleontologist but you don’t study Tyrannosaurus or Triceratops, you can still win people over by telling them about sabretooths.”

But the popularity of these extinct animals—even extending to their designation as California’s official state fossil—belies how much we know about them. “How did they hunt?” wonders Scott. “How did they use those sabre-like teeth? What did they like to eat? Did they hunt alone, or in groups? Scientists are asking all sorts of questions like these – and the answers aren’t yet as clear-cut as we might like.”

Sabre-toothed cats are the second most common large mammals at the world-famous Rancho La Brea “tar pits” in nearby Los Angeles. Elsewhere in the American southwest, these predators are far more rare. But recent discoveries by Museum scientists in the desert outside of Las Vegas, Nevada have confirmed that sabre-toothed cats roamed there, as well. These discoveries shed new light on how these animals may have hunted their prey during the Pleistocene Epoch.

The Victor Valley Museum is a branch of the San Bernardino County Museum located at 11873 Apple Valley Road in Apple Valley. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 (adult), $4 (senior or military), and $2.50 (student). Children under 5 and San Bernardino County Museum Association members are free. Parking is free. For more information, visit

The museum is accessible to persons with disabilities. If assistive listening devices or other auxiliary aids are needed in order to participate in museum exhibits or programs, requests should be made through Museum Visitor Services at least three business days prior to your visit. Visitor Services’ telephone number is 909-307-2669.

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