Daspletosaurus- frightful lizard from Cretaceous
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Daspletosaurus- frightful lizard from Cretaceous

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Daspletosaurus was a bipedal meat-eater that lived in western North America between 77 and 74 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period.
Like the tyrannosaurs that were to follow, it relied on smell and hearing as much as sight. Bite marks in Daspletosaurus skulls suggest they fought each other over food, territory or dominance in a group.

Daspletosaurus- frightful lizard from Cretaceous

A remarkable discovery of a group of Daspletosaurus near some Hadrosaurs raised some interesting questions. Did these tyrannosaurs hunt in packs or come together to feast on the carcasses?
It had tiny horns behind its eyes and its arms were a bit longer than those of T. Rex, a massive head, a muscular body, and many, many sharp, teeth and puny, comical-looking arms.

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.

The adults could reach a length of 26 to 30 feet from its snout to its tail. The mass estimates averaged around 2.75 tons but have ranged between 2.0 and 4.1 tons.
Daspletosaurus had a gigantic skull that could reach more than 3.3 feet in length. The bones were heavily constructed and some, including the nasal bones, were fused for strength. Large openings in the skull decreased its weight.

Daspletosaurus- frightful lizard from Cretaceous

A young specimen of the Dinosaur Park Daspletosaurus species (TMP 94.143.1) shows bite marks on the face that were inflicted by another tyrannosaur.
The bite marks are healed over, indicating that the animal survived the bite.
Facial bites are seen in other tyrannosaurs like Gorgosaurus and Tyrannosaurus, as well as in other theropod genera like Sinraptor and Saurornitholestes.
Darren Tanke and Phil Currie hypothesize that the bites are due to intraspecific competition for territory or resources, or for dominance within a social group.


Swamps of North America, between 77 and 74 million years ago during the Late Cretaceous Period.


Carnivore (meat-eater).
As an apex predator, Daspletosaurus was at the top of the food chain, probably preying on large dinosaurs like the ceratopsid Centrosaurus and the hadrosaur Hypacrosaurus.
With its formidable teeth and jaws, clawed feet, and sheer bulk, Daspletosaurus torosus was easily capable of killing even the largest of its herbivorous prey. It is considered to be the king predator of its time.

In some areas, Daspletosaurus coexisted with another tyrannosaurid, Gorgosaurus, though there is some evidence of niche differentiation between the two.
While Daspletosaurus fossils are rarer than other tyrannosaurids, the available specimens allow some analysis of the biology of these animals, including social behavior, diet, and life history.


74 million years ago, during the Late Cretaceous Period.


Interesting Facts

  • It grew by about 180 kilograms a year – 10 per cent of its final adult weight. 
  • Daspletosaurus had the largest teeth of any of the tyrannosaurids, larger even than those of Tyrannosaurus rex.Some specimens shows bite marks on the face that were inflicted by another tyrannosaur aiming to the hypothesize that those wounds were inflicted during competition for territory or resources, or for dominance within a social group.
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