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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.

*Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

Service and Handling Description: Other (TBD) (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
October, 2013
19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
Internet/Mail/Phone Bidders: 0
Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
Page Views: 450

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