Oreodonts are part of a very diverse group of extinct herbivorous, plant eaters in North America about 30 to 33 Million Years ago. They are artiodactyls which means even-toed ungulates. An Ungulate means – hoof toed mammal.
Oreodont means “mountain tooth” due to the unique shape of the molars. Most oreodonts were about the size of sheep but some grew to a size of a cow. They were fairly heavy-bodied and had short four-toed hooves. Oreodonts are extinct and have no close relatives but are most closely related to camels and pigs. All Oreodonts are herbivorous and believed to browse on leaves and young shoots.
The most common Oreodont is arguably the Merycoidodon. The Merycoidodon means ruminating teeth. Again these were herbivores browsing on low vegetation. They are found mostly in the Bruhl Formation which is a part of the famous White River Formation. The Bruhl is aged between 33 and 30 million years ago and encompasses parts of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
Because of the sheer number of fossils found it is believed that they wandered the area in large herds. Often the bones are found dis-articulated and broken apart, it is uncommon to find a complete skeleton.
The vertebra is 3/4 inch and comes in this handsome inch 3 1/4 inch by 4 1/4 black leatherette, glass – topped collectors case.