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Giant Beaver edges out competition to become Minnesota's State Fossil

A victory decades in the making, the Science Museum of Minnesota will submit the winner to the legislature for official "state fossil" status.

ST PAUL, Minn — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on KARE 11 on Sept. 3, 2021.

From the common loon to the Honeycrisp apple, Minnesota is represented by more than a dozen state symbols.

Now we can finally add a "state fossil" to the list.

The Science Museum of Minnesota announced on Oct. 13, which happens to be National Fossil Day, that the Giant Beaver is the winner of their Minnesota State Fossil Election. You can watch the full announcement video, complete with an audience full of fossils, here.

Known scientifically as the Castoroides Ohioensis, the fossil is between 2.58 million and 10,150 years old and was found in St. Paul. The massive mammal weighed in around 200 pounds, the size of a small bear, and once roamed the Twin Cities area and Freeborn County.

More than 11,000 votes were cast by fossil enthusiasts. Other candidates included a bison head fossil (Bison antiquus), a large long-snouted crocodile relative (Terminonaris robusta) and a Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi).

The museum says the Giant Beaver beat the fossil with the second most votes by 1,000, and had 25% of the vote among all nine candidates.

The Giant Beaver's victory is a long time coming. Back in 1988, the specimen made a run for state fossil, but didn't make it through the voting process. Now, the museum will submit the candidate to the Minnesota legislature to get official "state fossil" status

"Having a state fossil is a really fun kind of point of pride and it's something that hopefully brings people together," said Kailyn Robinson, PR specialist for the Science Museum back in September. "That's the biggest thing, so many things we argue about, but a state symbol is something that people can look at with pride and it comes from where we all live."