Oreodont Fossil Jaw Bone with Teeth 1.jpg
Merycoidodontoidea (Oreodont) Fossil Jaw Bone with Teeth
SITE LOCATION: Badlands of South Dakota, USA
TIME PERIOD: Eocene age (40-53 million years ago)
Data: Weight: .9 Ounces, Dimensions: 1.9 Inches Long & 1.2 Inches Wide. Merycoidodontoidea, sometimes called "oreodonts," or "ruminating hogs", is an extinct superfamily of prehistoric cud-chewing artiodactyls with short faces and fang-like canine teeth. As their name implies, some of the better known forms were generally hog-like, and the group was once thought to be a member of Suina, the pigs, peccaries and their ancestors, though recent work indicates they were more closely related to camels. Oreodonts are extinct Artiodactylids most closely related to camels and pigs, with no close relatives living today. All are herbivorous, browsing on a diet of leaves and young shoots. Oreodonts fed on different types of vegetation than many modern artiodactyls do and therefore occupied an ecologically different niche than many living ungulates. Found only in North America, oreodonts would eventually rival the large and diverse extant populations of modern bovid artiodactyls in Africa (antelopes, wildebeest, and buffalo) or the equally diverse populations of deer and goats of Asia.