Homotherium serum and Cervalces from the Great Lakes Region, USA: geochronology, morphology and ancient DNA



A scimitar-toothed cat (Homotherium serum) and stag moose (Cervalces sp.) are described from Tyson Spring Cave, Fillmore County, Minnesota. These specimens represent the first records of both species in the state, and the first record for H. serum in the Great Lakes region. Although the Cervalces specimen remains undated, it shares features with pre-Wisconsin specimens from the eastern Great Plains. The H. serum individual dates to c. 26.9 ka, when the Wisconsin ice margin was less than 60 km away. Genetic analyses support the identity of the Homotherium specimen as conspecific with Homotherium serum found in older Beringian deposits, as well as both the early divergence of tribes Homotherini and Smilodontini within Machairodontinae and the early divergence of this Machairodontinae from the lineage that produced extant cats.