Homotherium serum Cope, 1893

Scimitar cat, Scimitar-toothed cat, Dirk-toothed sabertooth cat



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Dinobastis serus Cope, 1893


A new paper suggests H. serum is either an invalid taxon, or at least did not survive into the Late Pleistocene (Paijmans et al. 2017).


Conservation Status

Extinct or invalid

Last record: Late Pleistocene



California, USA












Original scientific description:

Cope, Edward Drinker. (1893). A new Pleistocene sabre-tooth. The American Naturalist 27: 896-897.


Other references:

Bocherens, Hervé. (2015). Isotopic tracking of large carnivore palaeoecology in the mammoth steppe. Quaternary Science Reviews 117: 42-71. [Abstract]

Churcher CS. 1966. The affinities of Dinobastis serus Cope, 1893. Quaternaria 8: 263-275.

DeSantis, Larisa R. G. et al. (In Press, 2021). Dietary ecology of the scimitar-toothed cat Homotherium serum. Current Biology. doi: [Abstract]

Ewald, Tatyanna, Hills, R. V., Tolma, Shayne and Kooyman, Brian. (2017). Scimitar cat (Homotherium serum Cope) from southwestern Alberta, Canada. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. [Abstract]

Faunmap working group. 1994 FAUNMAP: a database documenting late Quaternary distributions of mammal species in the United States. Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers 25(1-2): 1-690.

Figueirido, Borja et al. (In Press, 2018). Distinct Predatory Behaviors in Scimitar- and Dirk-Toothed Sabertooth Cats. Current Biology. doi: [Abstract]

Graham, Russell W., Lundelius Jr., Ernest L., Meissener, Laurence and Muhlestein, Keith. (2013). Friesenhahn Cave: Late Pleistocene paleoecology and predator-prey relationships of mammoths with an extinct scimitar cat. GSA Field Guides 30: 15-31. [Abstract]

Jefferson, G. T., and A. E. Tejada-Fiores. 1993. The Late Pleistocene Record of Homotherium (Felidae: Machairodontinae) in the southwestern United States. PaleoBios 15(3):37-46.

Kurtén B., Anderson E. 1980 Pleistocene Mammals of North America. New York, Columbia University Press.

Paijmans, Johanna L. A. et al. (In Press, 2017). Evolutionary History of Saber-Toothed Cats Based on Ancient Mitogenomics. Current Biology. DOI:

Rawn-Schatzinger V. 1983. Development and eruption sequence of deciduous and permanent teeth in the saber-tooth cat Homotherium serum Cope. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 3: 49-57.

Rawn-Schatzinger, V. 1992. The scimitar cat Homotherium serum Cope: osteology, functional morphology, and predatory behaviour. Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL.

Rawn-Schatzinger V, Collins RL. 1981. Scimitar cats, Homotherium serum Cope from Gassaway Fissure, Cannon County, Tennessee and the North American distribution of Homotherium. Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Science 56: 15-19 .

Smith F.A., Lyons S.K., Ernest S.K.M., Jones K.E., Kaufman D.M., Dayan T., Marquet P.A., Brown J.H., Haskell J.P. (2003). Body mass of late Quaternary mammals. Ecology 84(12): 3403-3403.

Stock, C., and J. M. Harris. 1992. Rancho la Brea: A record of Pleistocene life in California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Science Series no. 37, 7th ed.:i-xiv + 1-113.

Wheeler, H.T. 2011. Experimental paleontology of the scimitar-tooth and dirk-tooth killing bites, pp. 19-34. In The other saber-tooths: scimitar-tooth cats of the Western Hemisphere. Edited by V.L. Naples, L.D. Martin, and J.P. Babiarz. The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md.

Widga C, Fulton TL, Martin LD, Shapiro B. 2012. Homotherium serum and Cervalces from the Great Lakes Region, USA: geochronology, morphology and ancient DNA. Boreas 41: 546-556.


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