This is one of the finest fossil skulls we have ever encountered from a massive EUROPEAN STEPPE BISON of the Ice Age, aka Bison priscus. This classic Pleistocene beast is also known as the STEPPE WISENT. This skull comes from a large bull in its mating prime with perfectly preserved intact horn cores with a full meter spread from tip to tip. A very rare feature of this skull is the PERFECT, complete undamaged pre-maxilla. This anatomy is almost NEVER found intact and any skull that you see with this present is almost always fabricated and restored, not original as this one is.
The overall bone preservation and detail on this prize fossil skull is exceptional. The entire skull is genuine with only the minor repair noted above to a crack at the back of the base of the right horn and a crack at the back of the skull. The teeth are all original to this skull and are 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 and comes from a bull male in their prime.
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 that are NOT fossils. 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 32 years of business, we have seen far, far fewer Steppe Bison European fossil skulls that were complete compared to Bear, Rhino, Mammoth and Megaloceros, and this one is one of THE FINEST we have ever seen in any museum or private collection! 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 which destroys the fossils.
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.