Daeodon: The Before and After of this Extinct Animal

Daeodon belongs to the Entelodontidae family. These creatures are known as Entelodonts and they consist of other pig-like mammals that existed around 38 to 19 million years ago.

There is another species that is known as Daeodon, which was originally called Dinohyus. When researchers discovered that they were identical, they decided to classify them both under the existing name, Daeodon.

In this article we will be describing the life of the Daeodon before and after it went extinct.

 

What Did the Daeodon Look Like?

Daeodon
A Pictured Illustration of What the Daeodon May Have Looked Like

Daeodons, also known as “Hell Pigs,” were the largest species among the Entelodonts, an extinct group of mammals. They were known for their formidable nature and strength during their existence.

The large heads of these creatures were supported by muscles that were connected to their vertebrae, much like how bison or rhinoceroses have their heads supported.

The size of their necks appeared relatively smaller in comparison to the size of their heads. In general, a rounded back characterised their physical posture and their snout was positioned close to the ground.

These ancient creatures, particularly males, possessed robust jaws and had ample room in their cheeks to accommodate powerful muscles.

This behaviour likely provided them with the means to obtain food and protect themselves from threats, and it might have also influenced their ability to attract potential mates.

They were characterised by their long limbs, which allowed them to be agile and swift. The fusion of the front legs, a characteristic shared by numerous Entelodonts, was a notable anatomical feature.

The hunched appearance of this animal resembles that of a bison, with the highest point of its body located at the shoulders.

Researchers have limited knowledge about the composition of ancient skin and the presence of scales, feathers, fur, or other characteristics. It is important to note that Daeodons were indeed mammals.

Due to their warm-blooded nature, these organisms probably possessed a protective covering to assist in maintaining their body temperature or inhabited regions with moderate climates.

 

Read also: The Top 10 Most Ferocious Water Dinosaurs To Have Lived?

 

What Was the Behaviour of the Daeodon?

Entelodonts, an extinct group of mammals, engaged in intraspecific face biting, which is evidenced by the presence of tooth marks on their skulls.

In the animal kingdom, males often engage in fights to establish dominance within their social hierarchy. During these confrontations, they may utilise various physical adaptations for protection and as tools for combat.

One such adaptation is the presence of mandibular tubercles, which serve a dual purpose as both protective structures and attachments for powerful jaw muscles.

Sexual dimorphism refers to the physical differences between males and females of a species. In the case of Archaeotherium, there is evidence of sexual dimorphism in the jugal protections.

However, due to the limited sample size of Daeodon, it is not possible to determine definitively if sexual dimorphism exists in this species.

If an organism is dimorphic, it means that it has two distinct forms or appearances. In this case, if an organism has expanded jugals (cheekbones), they likely serve a function related to display.

These expanded jugals may support large preorbital glands, similar to the ones found in forest hogs, which are used for chemical communication.

 

What Did the Daeodon Feed On?

Daeodons were omnivorous, meaning they had a diet that consisted of both plant and animal matter.

Fragments of fossils and teeth reveal that these ancient creatures possessed a combination of teeth adapted for tearing into meat and teeth specialised for grinding plants.

This characteristic is commonly associated with Entelodonts. The teeth and jaws of these ancient creatures possessed remarkable strength, enabling them to bite through bones.

This is evident from the bite marks found on other preserved bones from the same era, which have been successfully matched to their bite.

The specific dietary preferences of Daeodon remain uncertain among researchers. On one hand, the positioning of their snouts close to the ground may have presented challenges for them when it came to capturing and subduing their prey.

Despite being efficient runners, they were capable of outrunning certain herbivores during that period. According to scientific research, it is believed that prehistoric humans had eating habits that were comparable to those of present-day bears.

Animals can adapt their diet based on what is easily available to them and what fulfils their nutritional requirements.

The diet of certain animals can consist of various food sources, such as small prey, prey that has been killed by other predators, as well as plants, vines, and berries.

 

Where Did the Daeodon Live?

Daeodon was a large mammal in North America during the early Miocene period. Fossils of Daeodon have been discovered in various locations, including the Agate Fossil Beds.

These fossils provide valuable insights into the environment during that time, which was undergoing a transition from dense forests to expansive prairies. This changing habitat likely played a significant role in the extinction of Daeodon.

The entelodonts that adapted to the grassland environment, such as Archaeotherium, developed a more cursorial body plan.

This involved certain changes, such as the complete loss of dewclaws, the fusion of metacarpals closer to the body, and the development of shoulder musculature similar to that of bison. These adaptations allowed them to thrive in their grassland habitat.

Daeodon fossils provide evidence of their existence during the transition from the Oligocene to the Miocene epochs, approximately 20 million years ago.

The transition point in the context of these animals indicates that they went through significant environmental changes, which probably played a role in their extinction.

Fragments have been found in both Oregon and Nebraska. The Agate Fossil Beds National Monument in Nebraska is renowned for its abundance of fossilised early mammals.

The Age of Mammals display provides insights into the coexistence and interactions of various mammal species during different epochs.

It also offers a glimpse into the potential presence of other animals that might have shared the same periods.

 

Read also: Are Yabbies Actually the Cherax Destructors?

 

Where was the Daeodon Fossil Found?

The initial discovery of Daeodon fragments took place in Oregon. However, the comprehensive understanding of this animal’s description, life, and evolution did not emerge until the 1940s, when researchers started piecing together more information.

Nebraska has been a significant location for the discovery of ancient mammals, such as the Daeodon, which have provided valuable insights into the prehistoric world.

Nebraska’s Agate Fossil Beds is the site where a complete skeleton, initially referred to as Dinohyus, was discovered.

Later, researchers realised that the specimen in question closely resembled other specimens of a species they had previously identified and named as Daeodon.

The process of naming organisms is important because the earliest name given to a species becomes the basis for all future classifications. In this case, the new skeleton was reclassified as a Daeodon based on this naming convention.

 

When Did the Daeodon Go Extinct?

Entelodonts lived during the early Miocene period, approximately 16 million years ago. However, they eventually became extinct.

One of the notable creatures that existed during that time was the massive Daeodon. During this period, there was a rise in temperatures, which resulted in the occurrence of drier climates.

However, their inability to adapt quickly to the environmental changes during that particular period in Earth’s history led to their eventual extinction.

Scientists have not yet determined the exact timeframe of Daeodon’s extinction. However, they can use specimens of other related animals to gain insights into the evolutionary patterns of species that were able to adapt and survive, as well as those that were not.

 

Read also: Facts About the Prehistoric Suchomimus You Did Not Know

 

Conclusion

Daeodon, also known as the “Terminator Pig,” was a prehistoric mammal that existed approximately 20 million years ago. It lived during a period of time known as the transition from the Oligocene to the Miocene epochs.

The Miocene epoch, which falls within the Age of Mammals, is a period of great interest to researchers, who have extensively studied numerous specimens from this time.

These prehistoric mammals were of significant size, frequently reaching a height of approximately 6 feet. These creatures moved by using all four of their limbs, similar to how some animals like dogs or cats walk.

The highest point of their body was located in their shoulder region. Their head was proportionally large compared to the rest of their body, measuring nearly 3 feet in length.

Now that you know what the Daeodon looked like millions of years ago, do well to share with your friends and family members!

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