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CHALICOTHERIUM LAURENTIAN  by michael bahl





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CHALICOTHERIUM LAURENTIAN


Detail: Adult male, secondary head


Discovered in 1887 by Harold Vanselow, a maverick dinosaur hunter and one-time member of the Othniel Charles Marsh team from the Yale Peabody Museum, these Chalicotheres were named appropriately enough after the Laurentian Divide where the tributaries of the St. Laurence River separate to flow in two directions. Dating from the Miocene Era (approximately 25 million years ago), the bones of these creatures retain the rich, deep red color of the Iron Range where they once roamed in large herds. The purpose of the male's secondary head has been much debated, some experts believing it to be fully functional, while others maintain it was most probably used in the mating ritual.

This family of nearly complete skeletons was recently re-discovered packed in crates during foundation reinforcement of a home in South St. Paul. Although some structural repairs were necessary, these specimens are otherwise presented here in the splendidly ancient condition in which they were found.