Among the features of the machairodont sabretooth cats are:

Upper carnassials with a reduced or absent protocone (lingual lobe) which is lowered from the occlusal surface on Megantereon and absent in Homotherium. This removes this lobe's role as hammer in bone crushing, a condition which in extant cats is found in the hypercarnivorous cheetah. This tooth forms in sabre tooths a long thin blade extremely specialised for slicing flesh.