Sabertooth diaries 6: time to play with clay!
Reconstructing sabertooths is a very demanding task, but it is also a lot of fun: in fact sometimes it can look a lot like childplay, and never so much as when you are making scale models in clay for reference. I have made a lot of models of skulls and heads of sabertooths and of their prey animals so that I can see how the heads would look in different angles and under different light conditions. These days when I need an absolutely accurate 3D reference I model the objects directly in the computer, but for a more spontaneous (even crude) approach there is nothing like the good old clay -and honestly, it remains a much more fun and relaxing thing to do!
Now, a few examples:
1.- Here is a skull of Homotherium based in several specimens form Incarcal in Spain. At some 12 cm. long, this is conveniently toy-like sized, like the rest of the models here.
2.- Here is the skull of the marsupial Thylacosmilus, with some of its soft tissues in place (concretely, it has the masseter and temporalis muscles, the nasal cartilage, the whisker pad and the orbiculars of the mouth.
3.- Here is the skull of Barbourofelis fricki…
4.- Even more bizarre: the skull of the gorgonopsian Rubidgea:
5.- And yet another gorgon, this time it is Inostrancevia, andI have put some soft tissue on it…
6.- If sabertooths look strange, some of their prey can be stranger still. Here is the skull of one of Inostracevia‘s potential prey: Scutosaurus.
7.- And here is the skull (with some soft tissue on it) of an animal that was neither a sabertooth nor a very likely prey, but rather a potential competitor for the carcasses of the predators’ victims: the entelodontid Entelodon. These animals are called “killer pigs” by some, and looking at their heads one gets an idea that the name might just be appropriate…