Daeodon was a large, rhino-sized pig-like mammal known as an “entelodont”. It was formerly known as “Dinohyus” or “terrible pig”. Though entelodonts like Daeodon had pig-like physical characteristics, it’s not known if they were directly related to true pigs, and recent studies point to a closer relationship to hippos and whales than to pigs.
Scientific and Common Name
Kingdom - Animalia
Phylum – Chordata
Class – Mammalia
Order – Artiodactyla
Family – Entelodontidae
Genus – Daeodon
Species – D. shoshonensis
Name Meaning – “Terrible Tooth”
Entelodonts had large heads, large canine tusks, and a stocky body with thick limbs, all of which make them superficially similar to pigs. Daedon had a huge skull nearly three feet long and was covered in knobs and flaring protrusions, not unlike modern day warthogs. Daeodon was one of the largest of the entelodonts, near in size to the rhinoceros of today.
Height – 7 ft. (2.1 meters) at the shoulder
Length – 11.8 ft. (3.6 meters)
Weight – 930 lbs. (431 kg)
Daeodon was widespread across what is now the United States. It may have been an omnivore, feeding on roots and tubers and scavenging on dead animals much like the modern day warthog. It may have followed predator animals and driven them away to feed on their kills. The position of its nostrils and fossilized entelodont tracks seem to indicate carrion tracking behavior. It may have intimidated predators with its massive body and used its strong jaws to crack open bones.
Daeodon lived in the late Oligocene and early Miocene epochs around 20 million years ago. The history of its discovery is long and convoluted. The first fossils were found by Edward Cope, who named it and believed it to be related to Megacerops (which he called Menodus). A later discovery of a more complete skeleton, named Elotherium, was eventually determined to be the same type of creature as Cope’s Daeodon. Two other animals, named Ammodon and Dinohyus, were also found to be practically identical to Daeodon and were incorporated into that genus.
The Princeton Field Guide to Prehistoric Mammals, Donald R. Prothero, 2017.