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For much of the 20th century, many unrelated large arthrodires were classified together within this genus, including species now assigned to Dunkleosteus, Eastmanosteus, and Titanichthys. Today, Dinichthys is considered a monotypic genus, containing only the type species, D. herzeri. Similarly, in a 2010 analysis, the family Dinichthyidae that once held a wide range of arthrodire genera was redefined as comprising only Dinichthys.
The type species of Dunkleosteus was originally described as Dinichthys terrelli by Newberry in 1873. After complete exoskeletons of this species were discovered in the early 20th century, Din. terrelli served as the basis for life reconstructions of the genus as opposed to the fragmentary Din. herzeri, even long after terrelli was separated into Dunkleosteus by Jean Pierre Lehman in 1956. As a result, most illustrations captioned as Dinichthys are actually pictures of Dunkleosteus.
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