Macrodontophion (meaning "long-toothed snake") is the name given to a dubious genus of lophotrochozoan from the Early Devonian Dniester Series of Podolia, Ukraine.[1] It was described by Adalbert Zborzewsky in 1834,[1] but was never given a species epithet, and is considered a nomen dubium, because it is based only on fragments, such as the holotype, a shell of 25 millimetres (0.98 in).[2][3][1]

Temporal range: Early Devonian,
~409.1–402.5 Ma
Holotype shell in two views (after Zborzewski, 1834)
Scientific classification

Zborzewsky, 1834[1]

The known specimens of Macrodontophion are presumed lost. Several of the specimens Zborzewski described are listed as being in his private collection, while others were said to be held by his colleagues.[1][2][4]


Macrodontophion was originally believed to have been a snake tooth that belonged to an animal similar to Ophisaurus, or the cephalopod Beloptera, by Zborzewsky in 1834.[1][2] Since Megalosaurus was mentioned in the same paragraph that the genus name Macrodontophion first appears, many palaeontologists, such as Romer in 1956,[5] Steel in 1970[6] and Romer again in 1976, believed that Macrodontophion was a megalosaur.[4] According to Weishampel (1990), Macrodontophion is a basal theropod.[7] Zborzewsky (1834) tentatively referred Macrodontophion to the Jurassic,[1] while Molnar (1990) described its age as Late Jurassic or Cretaceous.[8] Lev Nessov suggested the age of the tooth was Early Devonian, belonging to the Dniester Series, of which is rich in Porolepis teeth, but this could not be completely confirmed at the time.[9] Olshevsky (2000) noted that the holotype tooth of Macrodontophion is similar to those of a crocodile or a plesiosaur.[10] Dumbrava and Blieck (2005)[11] and Voichyshyn (2006)[12] confidently referred Macrodontophion to the Early Devonian Dneister Series; they also confirmed that it was a lophotrochozoan.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Zborzewsky, Adalbert (1834). Aperçu de recherches, physiques, rationelles sur les nouvelles curiosités Podolie-Volhyniennes et sur leurs rapports géologiques avec les autres localités. Bulletin de la Société impériale des naturalistes de Moscou 7: 224-254, [1].
  2. ^ a b c "Non theropods". Theropod Database. Retrieved 1 September 2021.
  3. ^ Dinosaur Mailing List entry which discusses the genus
  4. ^ a b Romer, (1976). Osteology of the Reptiles. University of Chicago Press. 772 pp.
  5. ^ Romer, (1956). Osteology of the Reptiles. University of Chicago Press. 772 pp.
  6. ^ Steel, (1970). Part 14. Saurischia. Handbuch der Paläoherpetologie/Encyclopedia of Paleoherpetology. Gustav Fischer Verlag, Stuttgart. 87 pp.
  7. ^ Weishampel, (1990). Dinosaurian distribution. in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmolska (eds.). The Dinosauria. University of California Press. 63-139.
  8. ^ Molnar, (1990). Problematic Theropoda: "Carnosaurs". in Weishampel, Dodson and Osmolska (eds.). The Dinosauria. University of California Press. 306-317.
  9. ^ Nessov, (1995). Dinosaurs of northern Eurasia: New data about assemblages, ecology, and paleobiogeography. Institute for Scientific Research on the Earth's Crust, St. Petersburg State University, St. Petersburg. 1-156.
  10. ^ Olshevsky, (2000). An annotated checklist of dinosaur species by continent. Mesozoic Meanderings. 3, 1-157.
  11. ^ Dumbrava and Blieck, (2005). Review of the pteraspidiform heterostracans (Vertebrata, Agnatha) from the Devonian of Podolia, Ukraine, in the Theodor Vascautanu collection, Bucharest, Romania. Acta Palaeontologica Romianiae. 5, 163-171.
  12. ^ Voichyshyn, (2006). New osteostracans from the Lower Devonian terrigenous deposits of Podolia, Ukraine. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 51(1), 131-142.