Buck-toothed demon.

Yeah, National Geographic is really helping paleontologists rehabilitate the popular image of dinosaurs as mindless killers with the latest… well… actually, I guess the blame goes to the paleontologists for this one:

The dinosaur, which stood as tall as a large dog, boasts a very unusual skull, said study co-author Hans-Dieter Sues, a vertebrate paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

“It has a deep, short snout and these monstrous front teeth. That’s a kind of skull structure for a predatory dinosaur that’s really unexpected for this early point in time,” Sues said.

These features helped earn the new dinosaur the name Daemonosaurus chauliodus, or “buck-toothed evil spirit” in Greek.

The oldest known dinosaurs lived in what’s now South America during the late Triassic Period, some 230 million years ago. This group included early versions of two-legged predators known as theropods.

But a big gap in the fossil record just after this time led many experts to suggest that these early dinosaurs had simply died out.

“The idea,” Sues said, “was that there was this early diversification of dinosaurs … but then they went extinct, and more advanced predators took over during the late Triassic and diversified later at the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, when we know that dinosaur predators greatly diversified and increased a lot in size.”

Now the Daemonosaurus find links the two dinosaur groups.