Beaver Fossil Skull from Bonner Springs

Castor canadensis

Class Mammalia, Order Rodentia, Family Castoridae

Geological Time: Holocene to Pleistocene

Size: Skull 120 mm long, 105 mm high, 85 mm across (as opened)

Fossil Site: Bonner Springs, Kansas

Castor canadensis Description: This skull comes from a Beaver known as Castor canadensis. This is the same species as is extant today. Beavers derive the genus name from the castor glands under the tail that they use to mark their territory. Note the large teeth with which the beaver fells trees for food and building material. They grow continuously throughout the beaver’s life to always provide a sharp cutting surface. It comes from a series of river terrace deposits near Bonner Springs, Kansas. These specimens are found as drifts on the river banks and sand bars, and as such have possibly been reworked from older deposits. They are found in association with bison, mammoths, mastodons, muskoxen, deer, peccary, short-faced bears, and others. Most of them have been dated as Rancholabrean Stage in age, and are so about 10,000 years old. Specimens of bison have ranged from 8,000 to 35,000 years in age which provides a viable estimate of the age.

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