“Voracious opossum tooth”
2004 Robert F. Walters
mammal is called Didelphodon. Didelphodon was
a carnivore and an extinct relative of modern marsupials.
Reaching the size range of the modern Virginia opossum, Didelphodon
is much larger than many other tiny mammals that co-existed
with dinosaurs such as the new oviraptorosaur, Triceratops
and Tyrannosaurus rex at the end of the Cretaceous
in North America. Its very robust cheek teeth (called premolars)
and strong jaw were useful for either crushing the bones of
small vertebrate animals or for eating hard food items such
as shelled invertebrates.
has been speculated that Didelphodon had a preference
for aquatic habitats because the wear pattern on its teeth
is very similar to that of the modern sea otter, and because
its skeleton shows some features that may be adaptations for
aquatic living. Its fossils are mostly known from river deposits.