Apatodon is a dubious genus of dinosaur that may have been a theropod.[1] The type, and only species, A. mirus, was named in 1877 by Othniel Charles Marsh.[2] It was found in the Late Jurassic-aged Morrison Formation of Colorado.[3]

Temporal range: Late Jurassic,
156.3–145 Ma
Apatodon 250 445d.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Dinosauria
Genus: Apatodon
Marsh, 1877
A. mirus
Binomial name
Apatodon mirus
Marsh, 1877


When Marsh named Apatodon in 1877, he thought it was a jaw with a tooth from a Mesozoic pig, but it was soon shown that the specimen was an eroded vertebra, from a dinosaur possibly from the Morrison Formation of Garden Park, Colorado.[2] Baur (1890) correctly identified that Marsh (1877) had misidentified the neural spine as the tooth of a pig-like animal.[4]

Apatodon was assigned to Iguanodontoidea by Hay in 1902,[5] to Ornithischia by von Huene in 1909,[6] to Stegosauridae by von Zittel in 1911,[7] and to Titanosaurinae by Steel in 1970,[8] and also Casanovas et al. in 1987.[9] (Kuhn in 1939 also listed Apatodon as a sauropod).[10]

The only recovered specimen is not regarded as sufficient to identify a particular species of dinosaur. However, George Olshevsky considered Apatodon to be synonymous with the contemporaneous Allosaurus fragilis.[11] The issue is now beyond resolution; however, as the type bone fragment has been lost.[12]


The name Apatodon is derived from Greek: απατη ("trick", "deceit") and οδους (genitive οδοντος) ("tooth", in reference to its original, incorrect identification).


  1. ^ Essex Institute (2012) "The American Naturalist". Volume 24, Part 1.
  2. ^ a b Marsh, O. C. (1877). "Notice of some new vertebrate fossils". American Journal of Arts and Sciences. 14, 249-256.
  3. ^ Monaco, (1988). A short history of dinosaur collecting in the Garden Park fossil area, Canon City, Colorado. Modern Geology. 23, 465-480.
  4. ^ Baur, G. (1890). "A review of the charges against the paleontological department of the U.S. Geological Survey and of the defense made by Prof. O.C. Marsh". American Naturalist 24:288-204.
  5. ^ O. P. Hay. 1902. Bibliography and Catalogue of the Fossil Vertebrata of North America. Bulletin of the United States Geological Survey 179:1-868
  6. ^ Huene, F. v. (1909). Skizze zu einer Systematik und Stammesgeschichte der Dinosaurier. Centralblatt für Mineralogie, Geologie und Paläontologie. 1909, 12-22.
  7. ^ Zittel, K. A. v. (1911). Grundzüge der Paläontologie (Paläozoologie). II. Abteilung. Vertebrata. Druck und Verlag von R. Oldenbourg, München. 1-598.
  8. ^ R. Steel. (1970). Part 14. Saurischia. Handbuch der Paläoherpetologie/Encyclopedia of Paleoherpetology. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart 1-87
  9. ^ Casanovas, Santafé, Sanz and Buscalioni, 1987. Arcosaurios (Crocodilia, Dinosauria) del Cretácico superior de la Conca de Tremp (Lleida, España). Estudios Geológicos, Volumen Extraordinario Galve-Tremp. 95-110.
  10. ^ Kuhn, O. (1939). Saurischia. In Fossilium Catalogus I. Animalia. 87. 124 pp.
  11. ^ Olshevsky, (1991). "A revision of the parainfraclass Archosauria Cope, 1869, excluding the advanced Crocodylia". Mesozoic Meanderings, 2: 196 pp.
  12. ^ "Non-theropods".