Gayle Anderson reports new research between paleontologists at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Robert Klapper at Cedars-Sinai could enhance patient care.

According to an article on the Cedars-Sinai Blog, “…The long-debated question among paleontologists?: Twelve thousand years ago, when the smilodon, or saber-toothed cat, roamed what is now Wilshire Boulevard, did the predator hunt alone or in packs?

After examining bone specimens at the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum using modern imaging technology, Dr. Klapper concluded the lion-sized animals must have been pack animals.

Dr. Klapper, researchers from the La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, and staff at the S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center used advanced CT scans to examine pelvis and thigh bones of saber-toothed cats.

 One of the specimens they examined revealed the animal had been born with dysplasia, an abnormal development of the hip joint. It’s highly unlikely this animal could have survived on its own, according to Dr. Klapper.

 Dr. Klapper hopes his work with these prehistoric bones will translate to better treatment options for human patients with dysplasia. The saber-toothed cats were larger than most humans, making them an ideal study for unusually sized prostheses.

The team says research like this could help create prostheses in new in-between sizes to help a wider variety of patients…”

The new research and the CT study are now on display at the George C. Page Museum / La Brea Tar Pits, 5801 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 213 763 3499,