The Chinese New Year – Year of the Tiger

The Chinese New Year, otherwise known as the lunar spring year started yesterday (February 14th).  As the Chinese traditional calendar is influenced by both the Gregorian calendar and the lunar cycle, the new year can start anytime between late January and mid February.  However, yesterday with the new moon cycle we moved from the Chinese year of the Ox into the new year of the Tiger (Geng Yin).

This is the biggest holiday in the Chinese calendar involving families getting together, parades the exchange of gifts and of course lots of noisy and spectacular fireworks.  Naturally, our interest in Chinese calendars has more to do with production schedules in factories these days but as it is the year of the Tiger it is an opportune moment to remind ourselves that the commonly used term for a Smilodon – Sabre-Tooth Tiger is not accurate.

Sabre-Tooth cats are not  closely related to modern Tigers, although they are members of the cat family (Felidae).  Sabre-Toothed cats are members of a sub-family of cats called the Machairondontinae and the Smilodon genus had four species, although there is conjecture whether Smilodon californicus made famous by the fossil finds at La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles, is a true species or a sub-species of Smilodon fatalis.

To view a Sabre Tooth cat model and dinosaurs: Dinosaur Toys for Boys and Girls – Dinosaur and Prehistoric Animal Models

To view our cuddly soft toy Sabre-Tooth Cat and Dinosaur soft toys: Dinosaur Stuffed Animals and Soft Toys

Named by the German paleontologist Plieninger in 1846, the moniker of Sabre-Tooth Tiger seems to have become associated with Smilodon through films and television documentaries.  We still use the “Tiger” term ourselves from time to time, to help customers find what they are looking for on our website: Everything Dinosaur Homepage , however, this term is not scientifically correct.

Wishing you all a happy and lucky Chinese new year.

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