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Didelphodon
Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Mammalia
Subclass Theriiformes
Order  ???
Family Stagodontidae
Genus Didelphodon
1st Species Didelphodon vorax
2nd Species Didelphodon padanicus
3rd Species Didelphodon coyi
Other attributes
Time Range 73-66 mya
Location United States of America, Canada
Name Meaning Opossum tooth
Physical Dimensions 60 centimeters long
Dietary Classification Omnivore

Didelphodon is a marsupial mammal from the Late Cretaceous of the United States of America and Canada. It was named in 1889 by Othniel Charles Marsh. It was one of the biggest Mesozoic mammals, and lived on both land and water, showing how diverse mammals were in the Cretaceous.

PhysiologyEdit

Didelphodon was a unique theriiform. It had a long, slim, otter-like body, as well as semi-short legs with webbed toes. It also had a skull similar to a Tasmanian devil, with short and big jaws, and opossum-like dentition, hence the meaning of its name, "opossum tooth". Its body would have been covered in fur.

DietEdit

Didelphodon would have been an aquatic predator, mainly feeding on mollusks. However, it would sometimes rely on dry land for food, subsisting on lizards, plants, and small dinosaurs. Its massive jaws were filled with mostly bladelike teeth, but also had large premolars designed for crushing.

EcologyEdit

Once thought to be a hunter of insects and small mammals, similar to modern day opossums, Didelphodon was confirmed to be a semi-aquatic predator, using its long body and webbed toes to quickly propel itself through the water. Its huge, crushing jaws were used for penetrating the shells of mollusks, mainly so it can eat the soft-bodied content inside. As well as this, it would sometimes dig small burrows in the ground for it to hide in, protecting it from predators like tyrannosaurs and dromaeosaurs.

In popular cultureEdit

Didelphodon was briefly featured in the final episode of the 1999 documentary Walking with Dinosaurs, where it was shown feeding on carcasses and eating the eggs of Tyrannosaurus. However, it was depicted as a badger-like oppurtunist, when in reality, it was an otter-like hunter.

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