Fossil Holds Clues To Prehistoric Beast's Origins | Sciences & Technology |

A new genus and species of extinct saber-toothed cat has been found in Polk County, Fla., scientists say.

The fossil, which is 5 million years old, is related to the well-known carnivorous predator Smilodon fatalis from the La Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles. The group of saber-toothed cats called Smilodontini was thought to have originated in the Old World and later migrated to North America, but the new species' age suggests the group evolved in North America, researchers reported March 13 in the journal PLOS ONE.