(Hostile tooth - alternatively, Destructive tooth).
Named By: Edward Drinker Cope - 1879.
Synonyms: Ammodon, Boochoerus, Dinochoerus, Dinohyus.
Classification: Chordata, Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Entelodontidae.
Species: D. shoshonensis (type).
Size: 3.6 meters long, 1.8 meters tall at the shoulder.
Known locations: North America.
Time period: Aquitanian to Burdigalian of the Miocene.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.
was once another well-known enteledont
pig) that was once the most well-known of the entelodonts. However
later study towards the end of the twentieth century brought the
realisation that Dinohyus was actually the same as
another genus of
entelodont called Daeodon. Under international
rules governing the
naming of animals, the oldest name has priority by default. This
means that Dinohyus which was named by Peterson in
1905 is now a
synonym to Daeodon which was named twenty-six years
earlier in 1879.
Despite this decision being accepted by palaeontologists for many
years now, there are still some inaccurate sources that continued to
treat Dinohyus as a valid genus even after it was
Daeodon was easily one of the largest known entelodonts, although other genera such as Paraentelodon as well as the type genus of the Entelodontidae, Entelodon, seem to have been comparable in size. The ninety centimetre long skull of Daeodon is mostly jaw with two wide jugals (cheek bones). The wide jugals are thought to have allowed for the attachment of powerful biting muscles although they also seem to have been larger in males. This sign of sexual dimorphism may have been to allow males to have more powerful bites for fighting with other males, or even making it harder for a rival to clamp its jaws around its skull, or indeed both.
Because Daeodon has a mix of different tooth types it has been imagined to be an omnivore capable of foraging for plants, particularly certain parts like roots and tubers, as well as perhaps scavenging carrion, just like warthogs have been seen to do in Africa today. Although pig like however, it is still not certain how close entelodonts are related to pigs, or even if at all. But a carrion scavenger theory might fit Daeodon better than that of an omnivore. While easily capable of killing and equally sized or smaller animal, popular theories have suggested that entelodonts would track other predators just to steal their kills, evidence of which come from a zigzagged entelodont track way that may have been left by an earlier relative of Daeodon called Archaeotherium.
Further support for a scavenger theory comes from the arrangement of the nostrils which in Daeodon seem to have faced out to the sides rather than directly forwards. This would allow for the development of a directional sense of smell since depending upon which direction the head was facing in relation to the wind, one nostril would pick up a scent a fraction of a second before the other (similar to how when you hear a sound you might hear it in one ear before the other, telling you which way to turn to see what it was). Daeodon might have been able to keep on tracking in a zigzag pattern until the point that the strength of the smell was equal in both nostrils so that it would then know to just go straight ahead.
Once a carcass was found it might already have another rival predator feeding at it, but Daeodon would be to use its immense bulk to intimidate and drive another, especially smaller, predator away. In this scenario it’s likely that by the time that Daeodon actually got there most of the choice pieces of flesh would have already been consumed, but this is where Daeodon would make real use of the strong bite force of the jaws. This bite force would have allowed a large entelodont like Daeodon to break and crack open bones, especially when caught between the posterior teeth that were closer to the fulcrum of the jaw articulation since here the full strength of the jaw closing muscles could have been brought to bear against whatever was in the mouth. One final observation that supports a diet of other animals is not actually on Daeodon itself, but the fossils of other mammals, especially herbivores, that have marks on them which closely match the dental pattern and arrangement of entelodont jaws.
- On some of the characters of the Miocene fauna of Oregon. - Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 18(102):63-78. - E. D. Cope - 1878.
- Taxonomy and distribution of Daeodon, an Oligocene-Miocene entelodont (Mammalia: Artiodactyla) from North America. - Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 111 (2): 425–435. - S. G. Lucas, R. J. Emry & S. E. Foss - 1998.