When modern humans first wandered into Europe some 50,000 years ago, this snaggle-toothed cat was probably there to greet them.

Painstaking genetic analysis of a jawbone dredged up from the bottom of the North Sea has now confirmed the theory that the so-called scimitar cat Homotherium latidens lived in Europe much longer than previously believed.

Until recently, the earliest fossil of a Homotherium in the region dated to about 300,000 years ago, and many paleontologists had assumed that’s when the large cat went locally extinct.

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