Castoroides – finished!

2014-02-03aThis afternoon, we finally completed our first of several mounts of the giant beaver Castoroides ohioensis!

This was a big undertaking for us, with lots of people involved. Ray Vodden (posing with his handiwork below) did by far the bulk of the planning, construction, and painting, but many other people contributed. Christina Byrd, Ashley Kendrick, Chip Trail, Tim Dooley, and I were all involved at various stages. The welding work was completed at Koger Air. And of course the Joseph Moore Museum, holders of the original specimen, gave us permission to produce the molds and casts in the first place.


We got to spend less than a day admiring our work, however, because this beaver is meant to travel! The excellent VMNH Buildings and Grounds Department spent the last few days building our exclusive “Beaver Box”:

2014-02-03cWith the head removed, two people can slide the entire beaver into the box so that it’s ready for transport:



This has all come together in a nick of time, because the beaver leaves for its first trip tomorrow. Brett and I will be attending the meeting of the Georgia Science Teachers’ Association in Macon later this week. VMNH Paleontology will have an exhibitor booth at the meeting where the beaver will be displayed along with some of the other casts we’ve produced over the last two years.

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4 Responses to Castoroides – finished!

  1. jrabdale says:

    I wonder why museums don’t have bone casts presented in natural yellowish-white bone color. Yes, I know that the dark color is meant to simulate an actual fossil, but still, there’s a certain “fake-ness” to it – I’m not really sure how to describe it. I would like to see more cast skeletons done with a more natural appearance. I would love to see a Tyrannosaurus or some other large prehistoric creature with a naturally-colored skeleton. It might give people a greater appreciation that these were actual animals and not creatures of fantasy or mythology.

  2. altondooley says:

    This skeleton is entirely a cast, but in many cases a mount includes a mixture of real fossils and replicas, so there’s an attempt to match appearance between the different elements. On a bigger scale, the same is true of a theme exhibit in which some mounts are real bone and some are casts but all are the same age, or in which there is a mixture of modern and fossil animals and you want to distinguish between them.

    That said, a certain part of it is institutional momentum.

  3. The cast and construction look great. Just don’t let the beaver go to Georgia and come back with a different accent than “his” present Virginia one.

  4. altondooley says:

    We’ll only be in Georgia for 3 days, so it should be OK!

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