Video news release and photos are available at smm.org/media
Saint Paul, Minn. — The naturally mummified monkey that made headlines when it was discovered in an air duct during the renovation of the former Dayton’s department store in downtown Minneapolis will go on display at the Science Museum of Minnesota on Thursday, June 14.
The specimen, which is on a temporary loan to the Science Museum, sparked great interest when news of its discovery went public in April. Varying theories exist as to how the monkey ended up in the air duct, but none have been confirmed.
“We don’t have a lot of information about this specimen, and that makes it difficult to tell a comprehensive story about it,” says Laurie Fink, vice president of Science at the Science Museum. “Our scientists are experts in caring for specimens like this one, though, and we are pleased to be able to care for it properly and provide some scientific and historical context for people who have been following its story.”
Based on its size, biologists believe that the specimen is a squirrel monkey that dates back to the 1960s, when the species was commonly sold in pet stores. Today, the practice of buying and selling exotic animals like primates and big cats is much more closely regulated than it was when this specimen lived.
The specimen represents an interesting example of natural mummification. The warm, dry air moving through the department store’s ducts desiccated the body, drying, hardening, and preserving its flesh.
Interested visitors can find the specimen in the lobby near the entrance to the Science Museum’s Adult Computer Education Center. It will remain on display until Monday, September 3.
Footage of the specimen being prepared for display by Science Museum of Minnesota conservator Rebecca Newberry, along with comment from Laurie Fink, VP of Science, is available here. No additional spokespeople will be available.
The Science Museum of Minnesota is one of the state’s most popular museums, with a reach that extends well beyond its riverfront location in downtown Saint Paul. It serves hundreds of thousands of people each year with its engaging exhibits, breathtaking giant screen films, and unique special events. Science Museum education programs touch students in all of Minnesota’s 87 counties each year, and its research programs span the globe. For more information, visit smm.org.