Didelphodon, skull
Didelphodon, skull
Didelphodon, skull
Didelphodon, skull
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Didelphodon, skull

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Didelphodon (meaning "two-womb tooth") is a genus of stagodont metatherians (extinct carnivorous mammalian clade that includes all mammals more closely related to marsupials than to placentals) from the Late Cretaceous of North America.

Although perhaps little larger than a Virginia opossum, with a maximum skull length of 12.21 centimeters (4.81 inches) and a weight of 5 kilograms (11 pounds), Didelphodon was a large mammal for Mesozoic standards. The teeth have specialized bladelike cusps and carnassial notches, indicating that the animal was a predator; the jaws are short and massive and bear enormous, bulbous premolar teeth which appear to have been used for crushing. Analyses of a near-complete skull referred to Didelphodon show that it had an unusually high bite force quotient (i.e. bite force relative to body size) among Mesozoic mammals, suggesting a durophagous diet (eating behavior of animals that consume hard-shelled or exoskeleton bearing organisms). However, its skull lacks the vaulted forehead of hyenas and other specialized bone-eating durophagous mammals, indicating that its diet was perhaps a mixture of hard foodstuffs (e.g. snails, bones) alongside small vertebrates, carrion, and possibly plants. Some convergence with the carnassials of other predatory mammal groups has also been noted.

Three species of Didelphodon are known: D. vorax, D. padanicus, and D. coyi. The genus is known from the Hell Creek Formation of Montana and the Lance Formation of Wyoming, the Frenchman Formation of Saskatchewan, the Horseshoe Canyon Formation of Alberta, and the Scollard Formation of Alberta, where it is one of the most abundant mammals. It is found solely in late Maastrichtian deposits.

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