6.9" Fossil Horse (Mesohippus) Skull - South Dakota

Artists reconstruction of Mesohippus.
Artists reconstruction of Mesohippus.
is a skull of the primitive horse Mesohippus, collected from the Scenic Member of the Brule Formation in South Dakota. It is Oligocene in age, or approximately 32 million years old. Based on the amount of exposed teeth within the mandible, it's likely that this would have been a juvenile to young-adult.

About 80% of this skull is natural and extremely well preserved, considering the majority of the material collected from this site is typically disarticulated and fragmented. The mandible has undergone the most restoration, with the anterior jaw and teeth being completely restored. All but one of the molars/premolars on both sides of this mandible are natural, with the left, anterior-most premolar appearing to be composite.

The incisors and incisor bone of the upper skull have been restored. The nasal bones and zygomatic arches have undergone restoration which is quite common considering their fragility.

Much of the rock that held this specimen together was removed during prep. These free spaces (between left and right mandible, within orbitals and between premolars and incisors) were later gap filled with false rock to ensure structural integrity of the skull.
Mesohippus sp.
South Dakota
Brule Formation, Scenic Member
Length: 6.9", Width: 3", Height: 3.8"
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