Mustela Mink Fossil

Name: Mustela vison

Class Mammalia, Order Carnivora Family, Mustelidae

Geologic Time: Holocene to Pleistocene

Size: 73 mm long

Fossil Site: Bonner Springs, Kansas

This skull comes from a Mink known as Mustela vison, that is often simply called the American Mink. This is the same species as is extant today. They are typically found near water to which they require ready access. While they are well distributed throughout North America, they were accidentally introduced into the wild in Great Britain as escapees from commercial mink ranches, and have become a problematic predator of native animals. This skull comes from a series of river terrace deposits near Bonner Springs, Kansas. These specimens are found as drifts on the riverbanks 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. It is fully articulated, and a dramatic display or study specimen.

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