The full-body pose in the reference I just made for this feliform creature was calling me to do something more with her… So here’s a female nimravid (extinct false saber-toothed cat), Graphite, padding her way through an alpine valley. A storm is rolling in from the mountains.
In her time, Earth was, on average, warmer than it is now, so biomes like this might have been more uncommon or distributed differently. Still, in those rocky, high-elevation areas away from the equator, one could imagine a nimravid filling the ecological niche of a cougar or snow leopard. Nimravids were a diverse bunch, ranging from lynx to lion size and filling a variety of roles in the food chain very closely paralleling the roles of modern cats. For example, Dinaelurus was built much like a cheetah and likely ran down its prey in similar fashion. So perhaps Dinictis or some other nimravid adapted to an alpine lifestyle like many cats we have today.
We do know that nimravids were incredibly violent towards one another, with as many as 1 in 10 fossil nimravid skulls showing signs of being killed by other nimravids with bites to the head using their sabers. Hoplophoneus (a larger nimravid with longer sabers) was known to kill smaller Dinictis nimravids this way. The competition between lions, leopards and cheetahs on the African savannah is perhaps a comparable situation. I imagine that it would make sense for some of them (like our friend Graphite here) to adapt to this danger by seeking ever more remote territories and coming together only to breed.
I look forward to more discoveries in my lifetime about these fascinating prehistoric predators.
This is dedicated to those who have held me when I felt I could barely breathe. This is for the ones who have spoken truth and love into my life.
This lioness is a bringer of life and hope. She brings light that shines on the dark places and she brings also the sweet relief for the sad things hiding in darkness. With power she lets them know that they need not stay hidden in their shame; they are loved unconditionally.