Temporal range: Late Cretaceous
|An artist's illustration of Daspletosaurus torosus|
| Daspletosaurus torosus|
Daspletosaurus (das·ple·to·saur·us) was an apex predator and was one of the largest tryannosaurs. It got its name because of its apparent ferociousness; its name means "frightful lizard." Daspletosaurus was a carnivorous dinosaur that lived in the Cretaceous Period. It is devolved from (meaning it evolved into) Tyrannosaurus rex and other tyrannosaurids. Similar to other members, it had a powerful jaw and short arms. It had a huge body balanced upon two powerful back legs. The three-toed taloned feet (much like those of a modern bird) probably held the prey down while it ate. Like all tyrannosaurids, the front limbs were short and had only two fingers each. An attack from a Daspletosaurus or its relative Albertosaurus would have been a nasty way to go, due to their brute strength, robust teeth and jaws powerful enough to puncture through bone.
DescriptionDaspletosaurus lived at the same time as its relatives Albertosaurus and Gorgosaurus. How two large meat-eating dinosaurs could have lived side-by-side is a mystery. Perhaps it was much like the African lion and the cheetah living together in East Africa today. These two cats have different methods of hunting, and they prey on different animals. The lion relies on stealth to get close to its prey (buffalo, zebra, etc.), and the slender, fast cheetahs run down its prey.
It is possible that Daspletosaurus, with its massive head and body, might have stalked the ceratopsians, while the more slender, quick Gorgosaurus might have run down hadrosaurs. Daspletosaurus and ceratopsians are less common than Gorgosaurus and hadrosaurs in the badlands of Alberta. There's some evidence say it is possible for it to be able to reach the very end of the Cretaceous period.
Discovery and naming
Daspletosaurus which means "frightful lizard" from the Greek dasples/δασπλής (dasples connective vowel resulting in daspleto) meaning "frightful" and sauros/σαῦρος was discovered and fully described in 1970 by Dale Russell in what we know as Alberta, Canada today, the type specimen "Daspletosaurus torosus" comes from the Latin torosus meaning "brawny" or "muscular".
Classification and systematics
Daspletosaurus belongs in the subfamily Tyrannosaurinae within the family Tyrannosauridae, along with Tarbosaurus, Tyrannosaurus and Alioramus. Animals in this subfamily are more closely related to Tyrannosaurus than to Albertosaurus and are known – with the exception of Alioramus – for their robust build with proportionally larger skulls and longer femora than in the other subfamily, the Albertosaurinae.
In Popular Culture
- A fossil of a Juvenile Daspletosaurus was seen in Valley of the T.Rex.
- In Dinosaur Planet, a young Daspletosaurus named Das lives in a pack including his mother and his two sisters. They make several attempts to take down a young Maiasaura named Buck but die in a volcano explosion. In the end, the narrator explains that Daspletosaurus has evolved into Tyrannosaurus Rex and a young T. rex shown with his mother looks very similar to Das.
- A Daspletosaurus appeared in several episodes of Dinosaur King Season 1. It was seen again in a few episodes of Season 2.
- In Discovery Channel's documentary Secrets of the Dinosaur Mummy At a Stormy night 77 Million Years Ago, A Pack of Five Daspletosaurus have been stalking a heard of Duck-Billed Dinosaurs called Brachylophosaurus. As one of the lethal predators is about to move in for the kill, One Brachylophosaurus named Leonardo rushes in to protect his heard. Leonardo bravely faced the Daspletosaurus. But then, The predator turned toward Leonardo & bit him on his right side. Sending Leonardo into the swollen river. Later the flood water has risen up higher & some of them along with their prey have drowned.
- Daspletosaurus featured in a dozen or so episodes of Dinosaur Train. One Daspletosaurus named Daphne was seen now & then in some of episodes along side with her dad Mr. Daspletosaurus.
- Daspletosaurus also appeared in Prehistoric Assassins "Claws & Jaws" Where it was hunting a Duck-Billed Dinosaur Corythosaurus.
- Daspletosaurus makes an appearance in the 3rd episode of Planet Dinosaur Last Killers, with a pack of them hunting down a Chasmosaurus, succeeding. However, the two larger Daspletosaurus stole their kill as the others will have to wait for their share of the kill. Also, in the same episode, Daspletosaurus makes another appearance in which they are waiting for the migration of a herd of Centrosaurus heading to their nesting grounds. The Daspletosaurus make their attack during a harsh rainstorm, killing some of the ceratopsians. Though, the herd of Centrosaurus make it to a flooded river and start swimming across, Some were killed by drifting logs & eaten by giant crocodilians, probably Deinosuchus, although some Centrosaurus made it to the other side. The next day, the carcasses are attracted by scavengers, especially Daspletosaurus.
- A Daspletosaurus Skeleton along with a Lambeosaurus Skeleton from The Field Museum of Natural History has been Briefly seen at beginning of Giant Screen Films 3D Movie Waking the T. rex: The Story of SUE.
- Daspletosaurus fossil was seen in the movie T-Rex: Back to the Cretaceous.
- Daspletosaurus was originally supposed to appear in Dinosaur Revolution but was ultimately cut.[77-73]