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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: 174

Daspletosaurus torosus

Upon discovery near Steveville, Alberta, in 1921, Charles Mortram Sternberg thought Daspletosaurus was a new species of Gorgosaurus which was already known from the same area. However, it turned out to be unique in both features and proportions, which also made it the first known instance of a tyrannosaurid willing to share its backyard with another type of tyrannosaurid. It was renamed by Dale Russell in 1970.

To coexist, these closely related 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 also had a relatively massive and heavily built skull with fused nasal bones for absorbing huge bite-power, long bone-crushing teeth, a snout toughened with rugosities, and bony crests to protect its eyes. Like all tyrannosaurids, it bore just two fingers and walked on three toes, but its arms were proportionately longer than any of its ilk (though they were still pathetically small), while its legs were shorter and more robust. 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. To help define the species, Dale Russel also assigned a paratype (AMNH 5438, parts of the hindleg, the pelvis and some associated vertebrae, found by Barnum Brown in Alberta's Dinosaur Park Formation in 1913) when he coined Daspletosaurus torosus in 1970.
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. However, Phil Currie and co-authors resisted the temptation of coining a new Daspletosaurus species when they described these remains in 2005, 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: 20th Feb 2018.