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Lot
53395

SPECTACULAR JUVENILE FOSSIL PIG SKULL. Archaeotherium mortoni. Early Oligocene. Brule Formation. White Riv...

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

 
Sold for: Not Sold
Auction Ended On: Oct 20, 2013
Item Activity: 0 Internet/mail/phone bidders
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Location: Heritage Auctions - Design District Annex
1518 Slocum Street
Dallas, TX

Description:
SPECTACULAR JUVENILE FOSSIL PIG SKULL
Archaeotherium mortoni
Early Oligocene
Brule Formation
White River Badlands
South Dakota

This simply incredible fossil skull of Archaeotherium mortoni belonged to the group known as Entelodonts which were peculiar distant relatives of modern-day pigs and shared the trait of an omnivorous lifestyle although it likely leaned more towards the carnivorous rather than the herbivorous side of the diet! Sometimes nicknamed 'hell pigs" or even "terminator pigs" as well, these beasts, although omnivorous, were considered the apex predators of North America during the early Miocene and Oligocene Epochs, existing for a period of about 21 million years. This spectacular specimen is unique for a number of reasons. Being a juvenile, it is a much more rare find than even the other fossil pigs coming out of the Badlands. The "baby" did not have the tough and thick build of an adult. This skull has an impressive set of teeth, and the great dentition sets the fossil apart from many others. This "ancient beast" is an extinct member of Artiodactyla - the even-toed ungulates. It probably resembled a large, fanged peccary the size of a modern cow with bumps projecting from the side of its head, and it had high shoulders presumably to carry strong neck muscles in support of a heavy head. The creature had a tiny brain but well devleoped olfactory lobes indicating a keen sense of smell. It obviously is superficially pig-like, but it probably behaved more like modern carnivores, and some evidence suggests it would have kept caches of food if and when hunting was not successful. Although Archaeotherium only existed for about 6 million years, it definitely made a mark on the ancient landscape of South Dakota. This self-collected specimen can be considered a "once in a lifetime" find and is a truly magnificent specimen of this ancient beast. This skull has minimal restoration around the periphery which is quite common among vertebrate fossils from the White River Badlands and has a good sized area of restoration at the end of the snout on the upper jaw including the teeth.
Measurements: 15 x 9 x 8 inches (38.1 x 22.86 x 20.32 cm), weighs 31 pounds (14 kg).
Offered at no reserve.

Provenance: A Private Texas Collection; Self-collected

Condition Report*:

Condition report available upon request.

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