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Temporal range: Late Cretaceous, 77 Ma
Illustration of the teeth
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Order: Saurischia
Suborder: Theropoda
Family: Tyrannosauridae
Subfamily: Deinodontinae
Cope, 1866
Genus: Deinodon
Leidy, 1856
Type species
Deinodon horridus
Leidy, 1856

Megalosaurus horridus (Leidy, 1856) Aublysodon lateralis Cope, 1876
Dryptosaurus kenabekides Hay, 1899

Deinodon (Greek for "terrible tooth") is a tyrannosaurid dinosaur genus containing a single species, Deinodon horridus. D. horridus is known only from a set of teeth found in the Late Cretaceous Judith River Formation of Montana and named by paleontologist Joseph Leidy in 1856.[1] These were the first tyrannosaurid remains to be described and had been collected by Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden.[1] The teeth of Deinodon were slightly heterodont, and the holotype of Aublysodon can probably be assigned to Deinodon.[2]

History and classification[edit]

It is likely that the fossilized teeth of D. horridus belonged to the dinosaur later identified as Gorgosaurus libratus. In a 1922 study, William Diller Matthew & Barnum Brown found that the teeth of D. horridus and G. libratus were indistinguishable from each other, and that they almost certainly belonged to the same species. However, because D. horridus was not yet known from any skeletal remains, they refrained from formally declaring them to be synonyms.[3][4] In a 1970 review, Dale Russell stated that because the teeth of D. horridus could not be distinguished from either G. libratus or his newly described species Daspletosaurus torosus, it must be considered a nomen vanum ("empty name").[5] Since Russell published his opinion, most researchers have regarded Deinodon as a nomen dubium,[4] though some have argued that since Deinodon and Gorgosaurus cannot be distinguished, they should be synonymized with D. horridus as the valid name for "Gorgosaurus" skeletons.[6] Additionally, several researchers have agreed that the genus Aublysodon (including the species A. mirandus and A. lateralis), should also be considered a synonym of Deinodon, since it is based on incisor teeth that likely come from the same animal.[2][3][6] Lambe (1902) went further, and said that as originally named, Deinodon was not preoccupied, and instead, regarded Aublysodon as a nomen nudum.[2]


Deinodon is known from a few, slightly heterodont teeth.[2]

A few phalanges, and a metatarsal with fragments of others, were found to be possibly assignable to D. horridus by Lambe in 1902.[2]

List of species and synonyms[edit]

Numerous species were referred to the genus Deinodon in the past. However, because most researchers now consider the genus and its type species nomina dubia, any additional species referred to the genus cannot be supported.

Name Author Year Combination author Combination year Status Notes
Deinodon horridus Leidy 1856 Leidy 1856 Nomen dubium, type species
Deinodon explanatus Cope 1876 Lambe 1902 Reclassified as Dromaeosaurus explanatus nomen dubium Originally Laelaps explanatus
Deinodon falculus Cope 1876 Osborn 1902 Reclassified as Dromaeosaurus falculus nomen dubium Originally Laelaps falculus
Deinodon incrassatus Cope 1876 Osborn 1902 Nomen dubium Originally Laelaps incrassatus
Deinodon lateralis Cope 1876 Hay 1902 Synonym of Deinodon horridus Originally Aublysodon lateralis
Deinodon cristatus Cope 1877 Osborn 1902 Synonym of Troodon formosus Originally Laelaps cristatus
Deinodon hazenianus Cope 1877 Osborn 1902 Nomen dubium Originally Laelaps hazenianus
Deinodon laevifrons Cope 1877 Osborn 1902 Reclassified as Dromaeosaurus laevifrons Originally Laelaps laevifrons
Deinodon amplus Marsh 1892 Hay 1902 Reclassified as Aublysodon amplus Originally Aublysodon amplus
Deinodon cristatus Marsh 1892 Hay 1902 Reclassified as Aublysodon cristatus Originally Aublysodon cristatus
Deinodon grandis Marsh 1890 Osborn 1916 Synonym of Deinodon horridus Originally Ornithomimus grandis
Deinodon sarcophagus Osborn 1905 Matthew & Brown 1922 Reclassified as Albertosaurus sarcophagus Originally Albertosaurus sarcophagus
Deinodon libratus Lambe 1914 Matthew & Brown 1922 Synonym of Gorgosaurus libratus Originally Gorgosaurus libratus
Deinodon arctunguis Parks 1928 Kuhn 1939 Synonym of Albertosaurus sarcophagus Originally Albertosaurus arctunguis
Deinodon novojilovi Maleev 1955 Maleev 1964 Synonym of Tarbosaurus bataar Originally Gorgosaurus novojilovi
Deinodon sternbergi Matthew & Brown 1923 Kuhn 1965 Synonym of Gorgosaurus libratus Originally Gorgosaurus sternbergi
Deinodon periculosus Riabinin 1930 Kuhn 1965 Synonym of Tarbosaurus periculosus Originally Albertosaurus periculosus
Deinodon lancensis Gilmore 1946 Kuhn 1965 Reclassified as Nanotyrannus lancensis Originally Gorgosaurus lancensis
Deinodon lancinator Maleev 1955 Kuhn 1965 Synonym of Tarbosaurus bataar Originally Gorgosaurus lancinator
Deinodon kenabekides Hay 1899 Olshevsky 1995 Synonym of Deinodon horridus Originally Dryptosaurus kenabekides

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Leidy, J. (1856). "Notices of the remains of extinct reptiles and fishes, discovered by Dr. F.V. Hayden in the badlands of the Judith River, Nebraska Territory." Proc. Acad. Nat. Sci., 8(2): 72.
  2. ^ a b c d e Lambe, L. (1902). "On Vertebrata of the Mid-Cretaceous of the North West Territory". 3 (4). Contributions to Canadian Palaeontology: 49. doi:10.5962/bhl.title.61817.
  3. ^ a b Matthew, W.D. and Brown, B. (1922). "The family Deinodontidae, with notice of a new genus from the Cretaceous of Alberta." Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History, 46(6): 367-385.
  4. ^ a b Carr, T. D. (1999). "Craniofacial ontogeny in Tyrannosauridae (Dinosauria, Coelurosauria)". Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. 19 (3): 497–520. doi:10.1080/02724634.1999.10011161.
  5. ^ Russell, D. (1970). "Tyrannosaurs from the Late Cretaceous of western Canada." National Museum of Natural Science Publications in Palaeontology, 1: 1–34.
  6. ^ a b Sahni, A. (1972). "The vertebrate fauna of the Judith River Formation, Montana." Bulletin of the AMNH, 147(6).