Comparative anatomy of the house cat, clouded leopard, and saber-toothed tiger
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Comparative anatomy and the construction of muscle maps can be used to study and learn more about the muscle structures and functions and thus the lifestyles of extinct species. In this research three felids from the family Felidae, were compared using scapular muscle maps constructed for each. The scapular muscles of two living felids, the house cat and the endangered clouded leopard were dissected and muscle maps were constructed for each. The scapula bones of the Saber-toothed tiger were examined at the Field Museum and muscle maps were constructed using the maps of the cat and leopard as guides. Roughened areas on the scapular bones helped identify the specific location of muscle attachments. These felids are easily comparable because they are phylogenically related and their scapular bones are very similar in shape. This type of comparative anatomy can be used to study and learn about more extinct species if they are comparable to other living species.