Giant beaver moves forward in campaign for Minnesota state fossil

The giant beaver has won the bid for Minnesota state fossil in the Science Museum of Minnesota’s campaign.

About 11,500 Minnesotans cast their vote for the beaver, edging out the next highest candidate by more than 1,000 votes and securing 25% of all ballots, according to a Wednesday press release.

Castorioides ohioensis likely looked similar to modern beavers, including its aquatic lifestyle and buck teeth, museum staff said. However, it was the size of a small bear — weighing more than 200 pounds. The Giant Beaver came from the Twin Cities and Freeborn County areas and lived from about 2.58 million years to 10,150 years ago.

The fossil was found in St. Paul and is at the science museum. Suggested as the state fossil in 1988, it ultimately didn’t make it through the legislative process. The museum’s paleontology chair "feels confident" that the community vote will help it make it through the Legislature now.

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