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a meat-eating tyrannosaurine theropod dinosaur from the Late Cretaceous of Canada.
Pronunciation: das-PLEE-to-SOR-us
Meaning: Frightful lizard
Author/s: Russell (1970)
Synonyms: None known
First Discovery: Alberta, Canada
Chart Position: 173

Daspletosaurus torosus

Upon discovery in 1921, Charles Mortram Sternberg thought Daspletosaurus was a new species of Gorgosaurus. However, it turned out to be unique, not only in its features and proportions but also in being the first instance of a tyrannosaur willing to share its back yard with another type of tyrannosaur. It was renamed by Dale Russell in 1970.

To coexist these two beasts must have had different hunting strategies and it has been suggested that Daspletosaurus was built to tackle the tough-as-nuts horn-faced herbivores known as ceratopsians. Although a lump smaller than its closest, later-living relative — Tyrannosaurus rex — Dapletosaurus had a similarly massive, heavily built skull, fused nasal bones for increased bite-power, long, bone-crushing teeth, a snout toughened with rugosities, and bony crests around its eyes. Its legs were shorter and more robust than other tyrannosaurs, and it had proportionately longer arms, but they were still pathetically short. Gorgosaurus was a lightweight by comparison, and probably tackled the far less fortified hadrosaurids.

Notorious lumper Gregory Paul reassigned Daspletosaurus torosus to the genus Tyrannosaurus in 1988, creating the new combination Tyrannosaurus torosus, but paleontologists didn't take a blind bit of notice.
Daspletosaurus is derived from the Greek stems "daspleto" (frightful) and "sauros" (lizard). The species epithet, torosus, is Latin for "muscular" or "brawny".
The first fossils of Daspletosaurus were discovered in the Oldman Formation (Judith River Group) near Steveville, Alberta, Canada, in 1921 by Charles Sternberg and named Gorgosaurus torosus.
The holotype (CMN 8506) is a partial skeleton including the skull, the shoulder, a forelimb, the pelvis, a femur and all of the vertebrae from the neck, torso and hip, as well as the first eleven tail vertebrae.
The remains of three or more Daspletosaurus individuals alongside the skeletons of at least five lambeosaurine hadrosaurs, with shed teeth and tooth-marked bones suggesting the former feasted on the latter, were found in Montana's Two Medicine Formation by Bob Kahn in 1997. Apart from suggesting gregarious (social) behaviour, their features differed compared to Daspletosaurus torosus. Currie and co-authors resisted the temptation to coin a new Daspletosaurus species, but Thomas Carr did not when describing fossils from a different quarry of the same area in 2017.
Era: Mesozoic
Epoch: Late Cretaceous
Stage: Campanian
Age range: 80-73 mya
Est. max. length: 9 meters
Est. max. hip height: ?
Est. max. weight: 2.8 tons
Diet: Carnivore
Daspletosaurus horneri
Coming soon...
• Russell DA (1970) "Tyrannosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of western Canada". Ottawa: National Museums of Canada, National Museum of Natural Sciences.
• Paul GS (1988) "Predatory Dinosaurs of the World".
• Tanke DH and Currie PJ (1998) "Head-biting behavior in theropod dinosaurs: paleopathological evidence". Gaia No. 15, Pages 167-184.
• Farlow JO and Pianka ER (2002) "Body size overlap, habitat partitioning and living space requirements of terrestrial vertebrate predators: implications for the paleoecology of large theropod dinosaurs". Historical Biology 16(1): 21-40.
• Holtz TR Jr. (2004) "Tyrannosauroidea" in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmólska (eds.) "The Dinosauria: Second Edition".
• Currie PJ, Trexler D, Koppelhus EB, Wicks K & Murphy N (2005) "An unusual multi-individual tyrannosaurid bonebed in the Two Medicine Formation (Late Cretaceous, Campanian) of Montana (USA)". Page 313-324 in "The Carnivorous Dinosaurs".
• Snively E, Henderson DM & Phillips DS (2006) "Fused and vaulted nasals of tyrannosaurid dinosaurs: implications for cranial strength and feeding mechanics". Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 51 (3): 435–454.
• Rafael Delcourt (2017) "A subadult maxilla of a Tyrannosauridae from the Two Medicine Formation, Montana, United States". Papéis Avulsos de Zoologia (Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo), Volume 57.
• Carr TD, Varricchio DJ, Sedlmayr JC, Roberts EM & Moore JR (2017) "A new tyrannosaur with evidence for anagenesis and crocodile-like facial sensory system". Sci. Rep. 7, 44942.
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To cite this page:
Atkinson, L. "DASPLETOSAURUS :: from DinoChecker's dinosaur archive".
›. Web access: 30th May 2017.