Its name is very representative and means “Dreadful Reptile”, because it is one of the most fearsome predators you can find. Only one species is known of it and it is a theropod tyrannosaurid who lived in the Cretaceous, 75 million years ago in North America. The only species we know of was found in Canada, although fossils were also found in the United States. It is important to mention that the Despletosaurus is ethyranosauridode whose fossils are rarer, however it has been possible to study its rest in depth so that much is known about its biology, including some clues about its behavior and what it ate.
It was a large dinosaur, measuring up to 9 meters in length and weighing up to almost 4 tons. It should be noted that the Daspletosaurus had a huge head, which could be as long as a full meter, the interesting thing is that with it could hit their prey so it was not only large, but also very strong and solid, was virtually impossible to break. Like other dinosaurs that could withstand impact, the Daspletosaurus had some fenestra or windows in its bones that made its sturdy head light and impossible to move. His neck, like that of other tyrannosaurids, is formed like an S, this made his neck flexible and movable as well. His mouth had so many teeth, so many that it could remind you of a shark and his teeth were different from each other so like other tyrannosaurids he had heterodontia.
The remains of Daspletosaurus we have is a partial skeleton, of which we know a skull, shoulder, part of the arm and leg and also the pelvis. The first specimen was found in 1921 in Alberta, Canada by Charles Mortram Sternbert. However, it was not described until 1970, it was Dale Russell who mainly described the skull, and named it Daspletosaurus Torosus, which means muscular. In total there are 6 specimens, the most recent one was found in 2001 and curiously is the one that is best preserved. It is important to mention that two remains of Daspletosaurus were stolen from the Oldman Formation. There are still some controversies regarding a young specimen found in the Herradura Canyon Formation, although some think it is an Albertosaurus and not a Daspletosaurus.
We can say that the Daspletosaurus was a super predator, so it was the head of the food chain at the time, is believed to have eaten Centrosaurus and Hadrosaurus. The body of the Daspletosaurus was quite heavy, so it is believed that he was not a very good runner, this put him at a disadvantage with his much lighter and more agile prey, so it is believed that his best weapon was to use the surprise attack, hidden in the trees or anything else that might give him shelter and jump or jump on it, he was likely to bump into it with his head and knock it unconscious, or simply bite it with his impressive teeth, his bite was so intense that it was practically impossible to escape.
The Daspletosaurus has very special behaviors, the first one comes from one of the remains, a young specimen had teeth marks on its face, studies indicated that most likely these bites were made by another tyrannosaurid or even Tyrannosaurus. Experts were able to conclude that the tooth marks had healed, so this Daspletosaurus incredibly survived this attack. Another specimen, now an adult, also shows bite marks, in this case you can’t be sure. This makes it special because it shows that there was aggression between different species, without necessarily eating them, this behavior is common among predators. These findings made it possible to hypothesize about aggression between species and say that these were due to competition for territory or simply for social dominance.
Precisely the Daspletosaurus had a very particular social behaviour, since in Montana more than one Daspletosaurus were found together, it has been speculated that perhaps it was a family of dinosaurs. It is very rare to find more than one tyrannosaurid in the same place, since when they are adults they usually hunt alone.