Despite ranking among the most iconic extinct species, the majority of its reconstructions fall short of scientific accuracy. Typically Smilodon is rendered simply as a big cat with a pair of fangs; however this species is more strange and unique than these depictions let on.
In reality, Smilodon fatalis featured a body type more similar to hyenas than modern big cats. Smilodon also possessed a vaulted skull shape to house those large canines as well as a number of adaptations to a colder climate such as reduced ears.
Its appearance would have been slightly uncanny when viewed against modern big cats, and it would be a shame to lose that uniqueness in our artistic renderings of this extinct species.