|Restoration of Apatodon mirus as an allosaurid theropod|
When Marsh named it, he thought it was a jaw with a tooth from a Mesozoic pig, but it was soon shown that the specimen was an eroded vertebra, from a dinosaur possibly from the Morrison Formation of Garden Park, Colorado. Marsh had misidentified the neural spine as the tooth of a pig-like animal (Baur, 1890).
The only recovered specimen is not regarded as sufficient to identify a particular species of dinosaur. However, George Olshevsky considered Apatodon to be synonymous with Allosaurus fragilis. The issue is now beyond resolution; however, as the type bone fragment has been lost.
The name was derived from Greek: απατη ("trick", "deceit") and οδους (genitive οδοντος) ("tooth", in reference to its original, incorrect identification).
- Marsh, 1877. Notice of some new vertebrate fossils. American Journal of Arts and Sciences. 14, 249-256.
- Baur, G. 1890. A review of the charges against the paleontological department of the U.S. Geological Survey and of the defense made by Prof. O.C. Marsh. American Naturalist 24:288-204.
- Olshevsky, 1991. A revision of the parainfraclass Archosauria Cope, 1869, excluding the advanced Crocodylia. Mesozoic Meanderings. 2, 196 pp.