STL Science Center

STL Science Center

28 October 2011


I had contemplated going back to dinosaurs this week until the Facebook voting made me change my mind. At certain times I hold a vote instead of making the decision myself, and whatever the circumstances, this past week there was a lot of positive participation. Two animals tied last week for second place and, for a moment, it almost could have been a three way tie. In thinking about the reader's interests and the spirit of fun, because October isn't really over, I've decided to do something I haven't done in the little over a year that I have been working on this "project." This week the subject of discussion will be two animals instead of one.
©Kelly Taylor

Animal number one is Castoroides. The genus Castoroides has two species, C. leiseyorum and C. ohioensis. Castoroides is a giant beaver. The species are split into a North and a South variant of the genus. Growing to be 8 feet in length this beaver was huge for a rodent! The beavers lived from roughly 1.8 million years ago to approximately 11,000 years ago from Canada down to Florida. The first fossils were found in Ohio in 1837 and 1995 in Florida for each species.

The second animal this week is the North American Giant Camel, or the Camelops genus. Its name means "camel face" in Greek, not very original, and six species have been identified in North America. The most prominently researched, not necessarily most prominently found, seems to be Camelops hesternus. Even though it was a giant camel, it has bee suggested that Camelops may have been more like its South American descendants and cousins and lacked the hump of fat seen in modern camels while at the same time having a coat of multiple colors. In recent years the Arizona desert has yielded some good specimens of Camelops. Camelops lived approximately 3.6 million years ago to 10,000 years ago where it died off with many other megafauna during the rise of the Clovis hunting culture.

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