Giant Beaver swamps competition to be Minnesota state fossil

An image of a Giant Beaver fossil.
The Science Museum of Minnesota is nominating a Giant Beaver specimen to be the official state fossil.
Courtesy of Science Museum of Minnesota

The Science Museum of Minnesota is nominating a Giant Beaver specimen to be the official state fossil.

That's because more than 11,000 people chose it from among the museum's collection, which included the crow shark, scimitar-toothed cat and trilobite. The Giant Beaver fossil captured 25 percent of the votes among nine candidates, and was actually a write-in.

An illustration of a giant beaver
The Giant Beaver, or Castoroides ohioensis, probably looked a lot like modern beavers, including buck teeth and aquatic lifestyle.
Courtesy of Science Museum of Minnesota

The Giant Beaver is a 200-pound, bear-sized version of the common furbearer that still inhabits the state.

Alex Hastings, the museum's chair of paleontology, announced the results of the online vote Wednesday.

“Pretty impressive right? There's beavers still throughout Minnesota today, they're an important part of the ecosystems here. A lot of people have seen them, and learned to love these little toothy critters, so why wouldn't you love an even larger version of that?”

Minnesota is one of only a few states that haven't picked a state fossil. The science museum plans to present the Giant Beaver — discovered in St. Paul — to lawmakers, in hopes they'll designate it as the state's official fossil.

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