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a genus of fossil animals (saber-toothed tigers) of the family Felidae. Machairodonts are known from Miocene and Pliocene deposits. They were larger than the living tigers and had large saber-like upper canines with slashing jagged edges, which enabled them to kill such large thick-skinned herbivores as the rhinoceros and mastodon. The machairodont is an example of extreme adaptation for feeding on thick-skinned animals. It was distributed in the southern parts of Europe and Asia and in Africa. Closely related genera lived in North America. Several species of machairodont have been found in the USSR.