Science museum

In Science Museum vote, Minnesotans say giant beaver should become official state fossil


A beaver the size of a small bear is vying to be Minnesota’s official fossil.

The Science Museum of Minnesota led the effort to have an official state fossil in Minnesota. (Minnesota is one of seven states that does not have one.)

The giant beaver.

The museum presented several of its own candidates and took recommendations from the Minnesotans before holding a vote. And on Wednesday – National Fossil Day – the museum announced the winner: the giant beaver, or Castorioides ohioensis, which was found at Saint-Paul.

The giant beaver was added as a writing candidate in the museum’s campaign. The large rodent won 25% of the vote among the nine fossil candidates, edging out the second-highest voter by more than 1,000 votes, the museum said in a press release.

Almost 11,500 votes were cast by people across Minnesota.

Alex Hastings, chair of paleontology at the Science Museum of Minnesota Fitzpatrick, is “confident” that the voting process will lead the state legislature to declare the state’s official fossil giant beaver.

What is a giant beaver?

The giant beaver probably looked a lot like modern beavers with deer teeth and an aquatic way of life when it lived in the Twin Cities and Freeborn County 2.58 million years ago to 10,150 years ago. Pleistocene epoch.

However, different from beavers like in Minnesota today, the giant beaver was, well, giant. It was the size of a small bear, weighing over 200 pounds.

A giant beaver fossil found in St. Paul is on display at the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The Minnesotans have an “affinity” for the fossil. In 1988, state lawmakers proposed the giant beaver fossil as a state fossil, but it failed the legislative process.