ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Gov. Mark Dayton's great grandfather founded the Dayton's Dept. Store chain, so it was inevitable that a reporter would get around to asking the governor about the report of the mysterious mummified monkey that has captivated the Twin Cities this week.
His response was the highlight of the week for reporters who work the State Capitol beat.
"I was not responsible!" Dayton laughed, as reporters feigned suspicion that he knew more than anybody else does about it.
But that triggered one of the governor's memories from the summer of 1968, when he worked at the downtown store. He said there was rainforest exhibit on the 8th floor, and it featured live monkeys and exotic birds behind a net.
"And somebody didn't figure out that the monkeys were carnivores!" Dayton recalled, triggering a wave of laughter as he explained that the display artists had to separate the monkeys from the birds.
"They said one monkey got out and went into the air duct!"
Construction workers who are currently remodeling the original Dayton's space did find the mummified monkey in some air ducts, although there's no way of knowing if it's the same one.
Other's have speculated that the doomed created escaped from the pet store that once existed on the 5th floor of the store.
Related: More on the mummified monkey story and one possible explanation. This one involves some teens who borrowed a monkey from Dayton's and then returned it on the sly.