Oreodont Lepiauchenia Skull

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Quick Overview

Mounted nicely on a piece of slate is this Oreodont Lepiauchenia Skull specimen with minimal repair / repositioning in the animals maxillary premolar area. The specimen's permineralization has taken on red hues from iron in the area. However, it's also hypothesized the animals blood leached into the its surrounding matrix. Then the iron inside that blood was reabsorbed back into the specimen, combined with iron that is naturally in the surrounding matrix, adding to its coloration.

Repair is nominal, limited to the specimens right rear jaw section and upper snout, where it's thought the animal may have been dragged out of its burrow by a desert cat. A drawing can be supplied by the specimen's discoverer / preparer.

A very nicely presented piece at a reasonable price point.


Measurements with base: ~ 7" long x 6-1/2" wide x 5-1/4 tall 

Measurements (skull): 4" long x 3" wide x 3" tall 

Location: Brule Formation, White River Badlands, South Dakota, USA 

Time period: Oligocene, ~ 20 m.y.o.

More Information
Oreodonts were a family of cud-chewing plant-eater with a short face and tusk-like canine teeth. Some of the better known forms were generally hog-like, and the group was once thought to be related to pigs, peccaries and their ancestors, but recent work indicates they were more closely related to camels. Most Oreodonts were sheep-sized, though some genera grew to the size of cattle. Oreodonts have a unique place in the evolution of ruminant teeth and with peccary-like attributes.They were heavy bodied, with short four-toed hooves. Unlike any modern ruminant, they had long tails. Oreodants first appeared some 50 million years ago during the warm Eocene and were widely prevalent during the Oligocene in the grasslands, prairies or savannas of what is now the North American badlands. Oreodonts were widespread in North America during the Oligocene and Miocene, but they mysteriously disappeared approximately 4 million years ago.

Lepiauchenia was the smallest of the Oreodont family. It was long hypothesized that Lepiauchenia was an aquatic, or semi-aquatic animal, due to the position of the animals\'s eyes & nostrils. However, fossils of the animal have never been found in floodplain deposits or river channels. They have only been found in sand dune areas, suggest that Lepiauchenia was actually a desert anaimal.