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Lot
53398

RARE AND INCREDIBLE FOSSIL HORSE SKULL. Mesohippus bairdi. Early Oligocene. Brule Formation. White River Badla...

2013 Oct 19-20 Nature & Science Signature Auction - Dallas #5141

 
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Auction Ended On: Oct 20, 2013
Item Activity: 1 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions - Design District Annex
1518 Slocum Street
Dallas, TX

Description:
RARE AND INCREDIBLE FOSSIL HORSE SKULL
Mesohippus bairdi
Early Oligocene
Brule Formation
White River Badlands
South Dakota

Mesohippus (literally "middle horse") was a common early horse in North America which lived some 30 to 40 million years ago. It had longer legs that its predecessor Eohippus and had lost a toe becoming a three-toed horse (odd-toed ungulate). Its teeth were low crowned unlike earlier horses and contained a single gap behind the front teeth - where the bit now rests in the modern horse. It also had an extra grinding tooth for a total of six. This ancestral horse was a browser that fed on tender twigs and fruit. It had a larger cranial cavity and featured a brain that was similar to that of modern horses. This superlative specimen has phenomenally preserved teeth - often the only fossil remnants found of these ancient horses - as their bones were so thin they were not likely to be fossilized. Of particular note, the piece has a series of five articulated vertebrae protruding from the back of the skull which curve under the bottom jaw as to be expected. This self-collected fossil was literally the "find of a lifetime" for the owner as the well-preserved horse fossil is a holy grail for any serious Badlands fossil hunter. This fossil skull exhibits only minor restoration with a small patch at the tip of the snout.This piece is a museum-quality specimen that should appeal to any serious collector. Horse fossils of this quality from the Badlands are simply not prevalent. This skull is superb evaluated from any angle and is a prize to truly be treasured.
Measurements: 8 x 5 x 3 inches (20.32 x 12.7 x 7.62 cm).
Offered at no reserve.


Provenance:
A Private Texas Collection; Self-collected

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