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This amazingly well-preserved and large fossil skull is of the massive EUROPEAN STEPPE BISON of the Ice Age, aka Bison priscus. This classic Pleistocene beast is also known as the STEPPE WISENT. It is important to emphasize that it is of EUROPEAN Ice Age origin and NOT one of the many American bison skulls that often turn up on the market. Furthermore, this is a TRUE FOSSIL from the days of Europe's last Ice Age when Neanderthals and Cro-Magnon Man hunted these beasts and memorialized their hunts and reverence for these creatures in their famous cave paintings. It is also important to note that this is a REAL FOSSIL found deep in the Pleistocene Period gravel deposits of Central Europe. Many of the American bison skulls being sold as 'fossil' are NOT true Pleistocene fossils and most often are either artificially-dyed modern skulls being pawned off as fossils to naive buyers, or Holocene skulls that are antique in origin but not from the Pleistocene Period.
Contrary to what one would think, a European Ice Age bison skull of this degree of completeness, size and condition, is MORE RARE, than most other European megafauna fossil skulls. In our 31 years of business, we have seen far, far fewer Steppe Bison European fossil skulls that were complete compared to Bear, Rhino, Mammoth and Megaloceros. Why COMPLETE fossil skulls of this animal are so rarely found in European deposits is mostly attributed to the fragile nature of the nasal portion of the skull. In most cases, only the skull cap with the horns, survives, with the remainder destroyed in either prehistory, or during the past dredging activities as they were found. In any case, a European skull this intact, is SUPER RARE! New discoveries are no longer possible due to the changed way in which gravel is mined and dredged.
This skull was found quite some time ago, when the gravel deposits in the Central European rivers were dredged using simple bucket and crane dredges. Today, more efficient but more destructive suction dredge machinery is used, which destroys the fossils. Locating a high quality fossil Ice Age skull requires finding one from an old collection as this beautiful example came.
Bone preservation and detail is exceptional on this skull. Only work performed was a single fracture repair to the left horn core which was broken by the dredge. The entire skull is 100% genuine with no fabrication and only this single repair. The teeth still embedded in the maxilla are all original to this skull as found. The rich and highly aesthetic color is a result of this well-preserved example being buried deep in a protective layer of gravel. This burial (until recovered in the dredge) is its reason for its remarkably well-preserved condition, as well. This is an extremely impressive skull from one of the key beasts to human survival in Europe's final Ice Age. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and duly impressive to demonstrate the robust size of these revered Ice Age giants.