How the “Marsupial Sabertooth” Thylacosmilus Saw Its World; Study Describes How Extinct Hypercarnivore Likely Achieved 3D Vision Despite Wide-Set Eyes More Characteristic of a Herbivore Than a Predator

A new study investigates how an extinct, carnivorous marsupial relative with canines so large they extended across the top of its skull could hunt effectively despite having wide-set eyes, like a cow or a horse. The skulls of carnivores typically have forward-facing eye sockets, or orbits, which helps enable stereoscopic (3D) vision, a useful adaptation for judging the position of prey before pouncing. Scientists from the American Museum of Natural History and the Instituto Argentino de Nivología, Glaciología, y Ciencias Ambientales in Mendoza, Argentina, studied whether the “marsupial sabertooth” Thylacosmilus atrox could see in 3D at all. Their results were published on March 21, 2023 in Communications Biology. The open-access article is titled “Seeing Through the Eyes of the Sabertooth Thylacosmilus atrox (Metatheria, Sparassodonta).”
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