Welcome to Chasing Sabretooths

Hello everybody! I am starting this blog in order to share  events, findings or ideas that seem relevant in this quest to reconstruct the life of the past. The blog’s title relates to what I have been doing for the last few years (decades, already): chasing sabretooths – trying to learn how those animals really looked like, how they moved, how they behaved… chasing ghosts, one could say. You never catch a sabertooth, you may seem a bit closer with every fossil finding, with every new insight into evolution and anatomy. But from the start you know you will never get to know it -not the way you can know a living cat. And if you think you have caught it, then the ghost is gone and all you have is an empty shell (sorry if this sounded a bit too poetic…)  So the key to this process is to keep it moving, to keep it dynamic, and always to remind yourself that you really don’t know. I use the sabretooths as a sort of emblem for the more general subject of extinct life, all of it beautiful and all of it worth learning about.

This journey has stops in many, sometimes unlikely places (at least for me). So my posts may relate to any part of the process of reconstructing past life. They may have to do with fossil finds, or with drawing, or with any aspect of modern nature that provides both information and inspiration for this task of recreating the past.  I am bad at keeping my activities separate, and I mix art and science all the time in a rather disrespectful manner. Sorry, I don’t see art or science as sacred masters to serve, but as means to an end, and this end is to learn more about the world around us, and to learn how to be a part of it while enjoying the ride. OK, first I sounded poetic and now I’m sounding philosophical, so obviously it is time to end this post… One last word however: don’t expect me to bore you daily with my posts: when I am not too busy, I will likely be feeling too lazy to achieve such a feat. Nonetheless I will try to be here whenever there is something worth telling.

At this point, this blog is nothing but bare bones. Give me some time and I will try to put some flesh on it, as I do with my fossil subjects!.

So welcome and please stay tuned!

Hoplophoneus mentalis

A quick sketch of the sabertooth hoplophoneus mentalis, yawning.

PS: I add a piece of eyecandy, a quick working sketch of the skull and soft tissues of the nimarvid sabretooth Hoplophoneus mentalis.


Posted on 07/06/2011, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Hi Mauricio!
    what a great idea starting a blog. As thorough follower of your artwork I honestly missed something like it.
    From time to time I will be having a look.
    Thank you!

  2. Manuel J. Salesa

    Hi Mauricio, and thanks for offering us the chance to admire your artwork and huge knowledge on sabre-toothed felids… see you soon!
    Un abrazo

  3. ¡Gracias Manolo, un abrazo!

  4. Manuel J. Salesa

    just a comment on your brilliant reconstruction of Hoplophoneus: it is not usual to see a reconstruction of a fossil species based on its own fossils; most of the reconstructions of sabre-toothed felids are just tigers with long upper canines… the illustrations of Mauricio are not artistic recreations of a more or less fantastic, almost forgotten world… they are scientific recreations of extinct animals, created by the hand of a genius, led by the knowledge of one of the best palaeontologist I have ever known… both in the same body…

  5. Hey Manolo, your comment just caused me to blush…In fact I am only a humble follower of pionners like Charles Knight, or Jay Matternes, who have crafted the modern methodology of reconstruction. Now it is just a matter of building upon those foundations. And having lots of fun in the process…

  6. Hi Mauricio – what a great ides!

    Might I suggest that it would also be helpful to include a page detailing relevant references on sabretooths.

    Best wishes

  7. Good suggestion, Steve, thank you!. I still have to learn the ropes of blog operation, including adding and linking new pages, but I shall certainly set to work on it.

  8. George D. Koufos

    Good morning Mauricio.
    Nice and useful idea.
    All the best

  9. John P. Babiarz

    Hi Mauricio, Ashamed to say it, but this is the first chance I had to check out your Blog Site, even though you mentioned it a few weeks ago. Great Idea.
    PS ” The Other-Saber-Tooths” should be available sometime this August, finally… I just hope all the last minute corrections made it into press. I am certain there will be a few more.
    I have some information on the yet, undescribed Chadron cat, contemporaneous with your H. mentalis, so I will send you that later and you can post if you want. Again, good idea and I am sure you will have a great following.
    John Babiarz

  10. Mauricio, I am an appreciative fan of your work. I’ve had the privelage to observe your artwork since I was a young kid reading about dinosaurs in school. I just wanted to say thank you! I’ll be keeping my eye on this blog!

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