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BRSUG 26478 Smilodon californicus
According to scientific orthodoxy the African sabre-toothed tigers, such as Megantereon and Afrosmilus died out 500,000 years ago. However in certain African countries such as the Central African Republic and Chad sabre-toothed tigers have been seen by the locals in modern times.
The animal is known by the French speakers of the Zagaoua peoples of the escarpments of the Ennedi mountains as "tigre de montagne." They describe it as being larger than a lion but lacking a tail. It possesses red banded fur with white stripes and it has long hairs on its feet. It also has teeth that protrude from its mouth. It inhabits the mountains and caves of Ennedi and it is so strong it can carry away sizeable antelopes.
In the mountainous Tibesti region of Chad the sabre-tooth is known as "nisi" or "noso." It is said to attack hens and slit the throats of goats without eating them. There are completely black specimins. In 1975 Christian Le Noel was leading an eland hunt from Derby near the river Ouandja 25km from Tirongoulou on the Chad-Sudan border when he heard a howling from a cave like nothing he had heard before. His tracker refused to go any further, saying that it was the sabre-tooth.
Photo Ref: T01446 Title: Sabretooth cat, Smilodon
The people of Temki, Hadjeray in south-west Chad call the sabre-toothed tiger the "hadjel." Wounds have been found on hippos corresponding to those which might be inflicted by the teeth of a sabre-toothed tiger. Christian Le Noel witnessed a hippo which had died of strange wounds which could only have been given by a cat armed with exceptionally well developed upper canine teeth.
In 2003 Richard Freeman of the Centre for Fortean Zoology, U.K. went to Sumatra to look for orang-pendek, the mystyery ape-man. Whilst in Indonesia he found out some information about the cigau, a cat like animal with a head like a lion and a body like a horse that runs fast and inhabits the jungle. According to the British palaeontologist Darren Naish the cigau may be related to a group of fossil cats called Homotheres, related to the more familiar sabre cats but with smaller canines. A relict population of Homotheres may survive in Sumatra. See Fortean Times 182 (April 2004) pp32-39.
There are precedents for discovering new animals in the Twentieth Century. In fact at least 55 new species of mammal have been discovered in the last 99 years. In 1992 the Vu Quang ox was discovered on the Vietnam-Laos border. In 1986 up to five specimens of the hairy Sumatran rhinoceros were found on Sarawak. It had been thought this species had died out there by the end of World War 2. In 1998 a new species of coelacanth was discovered in waters off Indonesia. This hunt for a sabre-tooth in Chad is NOT a hunt for a "monster" it is a serious scientific attempt to find out the truth about the sabre-toothed tigers status in Chad. Just as this century opened with the discovery of the okapi in 1901, perhaps the next century will open with the discovery of a sabre-toothed tiger. For further information: http://perso.wanadoo.fr/cryptozoo/dossiers/tigrmont.htm.
BRSUG 26478 Smilodon californicus - Reproduced with permission by Department of Geology of The University of Bristol
Photo Ref: T01446 Title: Sabretooth cat, Smilodon Description: Scene at a tar pool at Rancho La Brea. The mammoth has become trapped in the oily waters and is being devoured by the sabretooth cat, Smilodon. Copyright: Michael Long / NHMPL - Reproduced with permission by The Natural History Museum.
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