7.2" Fossil Oreodont (Merycoidodon) Skull with Puncture Wound

This is a spectacular, 7.2" long skull of an oreodont (Merycoidodon gracilis). It was collected from the White River Formation in South Dakota and would be approximately 30-35 million years old. The jaws contain beautifully preserved teeth including the canines which typically are lost in the rock over the years. Though what's really incredible about this specimen is the large puncture hole just anterior to the left orbital. The shape and width of the wound matches with a false saber-toothed cat canine. Considering the belief that these large cats preyed on oreodonts and horses during the Oligocene, this is definitely a possibility.

The skull has been left partially embedded in the rock it was found in, creating this incredible display piece. The base of the rock has been cut flat and covered in a thin felt to keep the table/shelf surface free of scratches.

There are some spots of touchup restoration of a premolar and two molars on the left maxilla, and same goes for the right maxilla. Both canines on the maxilla have had some minor touchup restoration, along with an incisor of the mandible. The proximal half of the right mandible is disarticulated but is still present and exposed just beneath the skull. The right orbital has undergone some gap fill restoration. The rest of the teeth and bone is in excellent condition with no additional restoration. Specimens of this quality and lack of restoration don't come around often.

Artist's reconstruction of Merycoidodon.  By Nobu Tamura (http://spinops.blogspot.com) Creative Commons License
Artist's reconstruction of Merycoidodon. By Nobu Tamura (http://spinops.blogspot.com) Creative Commons License

Oreodonts are an extinct mammal most closely related to camels and pigs. They have no close relatives living today. They were herbivorous, with short faces and fang-like canine teeth. About the size of a sheep, they roamed the plains of North America in huge numbers during the Oligocene period.
Merycoidodon culbertsoni
White River Badlands, South Dakota
White River Formation
Skull: 7.2 x 4.1 x 3.95", Entire Specimen: 8.4 x 5.6 x 4.9"
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