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THE MAGNIFICENT DUELING SABER CATS

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item-28144340=1
THE MAGNIFICENT DUELING SABER CATS

Lot 0346 Details

Description
THE MAGNIFICENT DUELING SABER CATS
Dinictis felina (Dinictis squalidens)
Oligocene
White River Badlands, northeast Shannon Co., South Dakota
This astonishing display represents two fully articulated, uniquely mounted saber-toothed cats in an exciting and dynamic pose, locked in eternal, tumbling combat. No comparable display specimens of the same quality and originality exist in either private or museum collections.

The Dinictis is one of the earliest saber-toothed cats to appear in the fossil record, 38-34 million years ago. It was a member of the Nimravidae family, the "false" saber-toothed cats, similar though not related to the later Felidae (true cats) like the famous saber-toothed tiger Smilodon. Their hyper-developed canine teeth were essentially finely-serrated knives specialized for killing or feeding. Scientists believe that elongate sabers were specialized for severing either the windpipe or jugular of a prey animal after they were brought down, allowing the cat to administer a swift "coup de grace" to immobilize its prey. Dinictis was a solitary hunter, with a probable lifestyle very similar to that of a modern leopard, and because of this, together with the fact that they roamed across a wide territory, their fossil remains are very much rarer than those of herd or pack animals. With a natural ecosystem prey-to-predator ratio of 50 to 1 (which has been established fairly consistently throughout the fossil record and even to the present day), fossilized carnivores are 50 times rarer than herbivores; cats are the rarest of all carnivores, comprising less than 2% of the total.

These two skeletons were recovered from separate private ranches in South Dakota in 1998-1999 and their conjunction is not entirely fanciful - Dinictis remains have been found with the bite marks of other saber-tooth cats present, although it is undetermined whether they would battle for sexual or territorial dominance. It is also undetermined whether the two skeletons presented here represent different species, or simply sexual dimorphism in the D.felina (it has been suggested that the larger skeleton, on top, belongs to the D.squalidens). In any case, both are beautifully preserved with excellent bone texture and patina, their creamy whiteness distinctively flecked throughout with striking blue-black and rich earthy red. Neither skull shows any distortion and the dentition in each is particularly impressive, with little wear, suggesting that each died in its prime. The sabers in particular retain good enamel coverage, those of the upper animal measuring 2 1/2 inches long, as opposed to its opponent's 1 6/8 inch pair. By bone count, they are 50-60% and 70-80% complete respectively, with minor but accurate restoration and reconstruction; on the skulls, this work was mostly done on the cheekbones, the ascending ramus of the mandible, and a few incisors. The impressive canines are all original, with only the tips restored.

Mounted on a complex yet discreet ebonized metal armature from a dark-stained wooden display base, the pair stands 42 1/4 inches high overall, preserved and prepared to the very highest standards to create a stunning, world-class piece, unmatched in aesthetic appeal and dramatic effect.
Buyer's Premium
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THE MAGNIFICENT DUELING SABER CATS

Estimate $200,000 - $250,000
Jul 26, 2014
Starting Price $100,000
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Ships fromBeverly Hills, CA, United States
I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers

I.M. Chait Gallery/Auctioneers

Beverly Hills, CA, USA
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0346: THE MAGNIFICENT DUELING SABER CATS

Sold for $110,000
2 Bids
Est. $200,000 - $250,000Starting Price $100,000
NATURAL HISTORY AUCTION
Sat, Jul 26, 2014 4:00 PM EDT
Buyer's Premium 25%

Lot 0346 Details

Description
...
THE MAGNIFICENT DUELING SABER CATS
Dinictis felina (Dinictis squalidens)
Oligocene
White River Badlands, northeast Shannon Co., South Dakota
This astonishing display represents two fully articulated, uniquely mounted saber-toothed cats in an exciting and dynamic pose, locked in eternal, tumbling combat. No comparable display specimens of the same quality and originality exist in either private or museum collections.

The Dinictis is one of the earliest saber-toothed cats to appear in the fossil record, 38-34 million years ago. It was a member of the Nimravidae family, the "false" saber-toothed cats, similar though not related to the later Felidae (true cats) like the famous saber-toothed tiger Smilodon. Their hyper-developed canine teeth were essentially finely-serrated knives specialized for killing or feeding. Scientists believe that elongate sabers were specialized for severing either the windpipe or jugular of a prey animal after they were brought down, allowing the cat to administer a swift "coup de grace" to immobilize its prey. Dinictis was a solitary hunter, with a probable lifestyle very similar to that of a modern leopard, and because of this, together with the fact that they roamed across a wide territory, their fossil remains are very much rarer than those of herd or pack animals. With a natural ecosystem prey-to-predator ratio of 50 to 1 (which has been established fairly consistently throughout the fossil record and even to the present day), fossilized carnivores are 50 times rarer than herbivores; cats are the rarest of all carnivores, comprising less than 2% of the total.

These two skeletons were recovered from separate private ranches in South Dakota in 1998-1999 and their conjunction is not entirely fanciful - Dinictis remains have been found with the bite marks of other saber-tooth cats present, although it is undetermined whether they would battle for sexual or territorial dominance. It is also undetermined whether the two skeletons presented here represent different species, or simply sexual dimorphism in the D.felina (it has been suggested that the larger skeleton, on top, belongs to the D.squalidens). In any case, both are beautifully preserved with excellent bone texture and patina, their creamy whiteness distinctively flecked throughout with striking blue-black and rich earthy red. Neither skull shows any distortion and the dentition in each is particularly impressive, with little wear, suggesting that each died in its prime. The sabers in particular retain good enamel coverage, those of the upper animal measuring 2 1/2 inches long, as opposed to its opponent's 1 6/8 inch pair. By bone count, they are 50-60% and 70-80% complete respectively, with minor but accurate restoration and reconstruction; on the skulls, this work was mostly done on the cheekbones, the ascending ramus of the mandible, and a few incisors. The impressive canines are all original, with only the tips restored.

Mounted on a complex yet discreet ebonized metal armature from a dark-stained wooden display base, the pair stands 42 1/4 inches high overall, preserved and prepared to the very highest standards to create a stunning, world-class piece, unmatched in aesthetic appeal and dramatic effect.

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