What Was an Entelodon?

Killer Pig Facts and Figures

Entelodon magnus

Concavenator / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

Plucked from prehistoric obscurity thanks to cameos on nature documentaries like Walking with Beasts and Prehistoric Predators, Entelodon has been immortalized as the "Killer Pig," even though (like modern pigs) this megafauna mammal ate plants as well as meat. Entelodon was about the size of a cow, and it had a noticeable (and hugely) pig-like face, with wart-like, bone-supported wattles on its cheeks and an extended snout studded with dangerous-looking teeth. Like many mammals of the Eocene epoch--only 30 million or so years after the dinosaurs went extinct--Entelodon also had an unusually small brain for its size and was probably not the brightest omnivore of its Eurasian habitat.

Somewhat confusingly, Enteledon has lent its name to an entire family of megafauna mammals, the Entelodonts, which also includes the slightly smaller Daeodon of North America. Entelodonts, in their turn, were preyed on by creodonts, a family of thickly built, vaguely wolf-like mammals (which have left no close living descendants) typified by Hyaenodon and Sarkastodon. To show how difficult it can be to classify Eocene mammals, it's now believed that Entelodon may have been more closely related to modern hippopotamuses, or even whales, than to modern pigs!

Entelodon Fast Facts

  • Name: Entelodon (Greek for "perfect teeth"); pronounced en-TELL-oh-don; also known as the Killer Pig
  • Habitat: Plains of Eurasia
  • Historical Epoch: Late Eocene-Middle Oligocene (37-27 million years ago)
  • Size and Weight: About 10 feet long and 1,000 pounds
  • Diet: Omnivorous
  • Distinguishing Characteristics: Large head with a prominent snout; "warts" on cheeks
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Strauss, Bob. "What Was an Entelodon?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/entelodon-killer-pig-1093201. Strauss, Bob. (2020, August 29). What Was an Entelodon? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/entelodon-killer-pig-1093201 Strauss, Bob. "What Was an Entelodon?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/entelodon-killer-pig-1093201 (accessed March 27, 2023).