Article: Eurasian wanderer: an island sabre-toothed cat (Felidae, Machairodontinae) in the Far East
Publication: Papers in Palaeontology
Abstract Machairodontinae, including the famous Smilodon and Homotherium, was an iconic Pleistocene carnivore lineage that occupied a critical ecological palaeo-niche and is thought to have had a profound impact on ice-age ecosystem structure. Recent ancient molecular studies on Homotherium suggest a wider distribution than that inferred from the fossil record, highlighting a need for additional fieldwork, fossil collection, and research in understudied geographic regions. After the original publication 80 years ago that identified a Pleistocene carnivore fossil as Felis sp. in Taiwan, here we revise its identification and demonstrate the presence of the large machairodontine cat, cf. Homotherium sp., in the Pleistocene of Taiwan, suggesting the eastern-most occurrence of this lineage in Eurasia. Our results also emphasize the importance of fossil curation and in-depth research in elucidating regional hidden diversity and lost ecosystem structure for the understanding faunal turnover and the origin of modern biodiversity.