Typically, when we think of Canadian wildlife, we think of beavers and moose, not giant predatory cats. Around 35,000 years ago, though, the north was a different place. The first-ever sabre tooth tiger fossil in Canada was just discovered and it wasn’t exactly hidden away. According to CBC, Ashley Reynolds, a Ph.D. student in paleontology at the University of Toronto, made the discovery while rummaging through a drawer in the Royal Ontario Museum.
"What struck me is they were listed as being Smilodon from Alberta," explained Reynolds during an interview with the media outlet. "And I knew that Smilodon wasn't really considered to be a Canadian species."
According to Chat News Today, Reynold's discovery was made well digging through a collection of 1,200 specimens first collected in the 1960’s by the University of Toronto paleontologist C.S. Churcher and his team from the bluffs along the South Saskatchewan River near Medicine Hat. Churcher’s findings were roughly sorted but never examined in detail until now.
Before Reynolds re-discovered a lost piece of Canadian history, the closest discovery of a sabre tooth tiger - proper name Smilodon - was discovered thousands of kilometres away. “Prior to this being described and its record being confirmed … the previous northern-most record was in Idaho, which is about 1,000 kilometres south of Medicine Hat,” Reynolds told Chat News.
“Smilodon is best known from tar pit deposits in California and South America,” co-author and supervisor, David Evans added. “So, it’s both exciting and surprising to find evidence of this iconic sabre-toothed predator in Canada.”
Paleontologists with the ROM recently made another amazing discovery - a fossil identified as an ancestor of the spider. The creature, which was assigned the Latin name Mollisonia plenovenatrix, is considered to be the oldest chelicerate. It was discovered in the Burgess Shale, located in British Columbia.