Daeodon (Dinohyus)

Daeodon (Dinohyus)


Daeodon; pronounced DIE-oh-don; also known as Dinohyus (Greek for "terrible pig")


Plains of North America

Historical Epoch:

Miocene (23-5 million years ago)

Size and Weight:

About 12 feet long and one ton



Distinguishing Characteristics:

Large size; quadrupedal posture; long, narrow head with bony "warts"


About Daeodon (Dinohyus)

Chalk up another cool name that's been lost to the technicalities of science: the giant prehistoric porker formerly, and fittingly, known as Dinohyus (Greek for "terrible pig") has now reverted back to an earlier moniker, the far less awesome Daeodon. Tipping the scales at a full ton, this Miocene pig was roughly the size and weight of a modern rhinoceros or hippopotamus, with a broad, flat, warthog-like face complete with "warts" (actually fleshy wattles supported by bone). As you might already have guessed, Daedon was closely related to the slightly earlier (and slightly smaller) Entelodon, also known as the Killer Pig, both of these genera huge, opportunistic, omnivorous mammalian megafauna, the former native to North America and the latter to Eurasia.

One odd feature of Daeodon was its nostrils, which were splayed out toward the sides of its head, rather than facing forwards as in modern pigs. One possible explanation for this arrangement is that Daeodon was a hyena-like scavenger rather than an active hunter, and needed to pick up scents from as wide a range as possible in order to "home in" on already-dead and rotting carcasses. Daeodon was also equipped with heavy, bone-crushing jaws, another classic scavenging adaptation similar to that of roughly contemporary bone-crushing canids, and its sheer one-ton bulk would have intimidated smaller predators from trying to protect their newly killed prey.