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Didelphodon is a genus of stagodont metatherians from the Late Cretaceous of North America. Although perhaps little larger than a Virginia opossum, with a maximum skull length of 12.21 centimetres (4.81 in) and a weight of 5 kilograms (11 lb), Didelphodon was a large mammal by Mesozoic standards. The teeth have specialized bladelike cusps and carnassial notches, indicating that the animal was a predator; the jaws are short and massive and bear enormous, bulbous premolar teeth which appear to have been used for crushing. Analyses of a near-complete skull referred to Didelphodon show that it had an unusually high bite force quotient (i.e. bite force relative to body size) among Mesozoic mammals, suggesting a durophagous diet. However, its skull lacks the vaulted forehead of hyenas and other specialized bone-eating durophagous mammals, indicating that its diet was perhaps a mixture of hard foodstuffs (e.g. snails, bones) alongside small vertebrates and carrion; although omnivorous habits were suggested in the past, it appears that it was incapable of processing plant matter, rendering it more likely to be hypercarnivorous or durophagous. Some convergence with the carnassials of other predatory mammal groups has also been noted.


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