Castoroides ohioensis ohioensis Foster, 1838

Giant beaver



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: c.9,000 BC





Biology & Ecology




UMMP 3109 (lower jaw)
UMMP 3110 (skull)
UMMP 32386 (right upper incisor)
MSU 2135 (skull)






Original scientific description:

Foster, J. W. (1838). Organic remains, pp. 79-83. In: Mather, W. W. Second Annual Report of the Geological Survey of the State of Ohio. Colombus, Ohio: Geological Society.


Other references:

Abbott, K. (1907). Old paths and legends of the New England Borders. Knickerbocker Press.

Adams, W. R. (1946). Archaeological survey of Martin County. Indiana History Bulletin 23(6): 197-198.

Baghai-Riding, Nina L., Husley, Danielle B., Beck, Christine and Blackwell, Eric. (2017). Late Pleistocene megafauna from Mississippi alluvium plain gravel bars. Paludicola 11(3): 124-147. [automatic download]

Cahn, A. R. (1932). Records and distribution of the fossil beaver, Castoroides ohioensis. Journal of Mammalogy 13(3): 229-241. [Abstract]

Engels, William L. (1931). Two new records of the Pleistocene beaver, Castoroides ohioensis. American Midland Naturalist 12(12): 529-532. [First page preview]

Erickson, B. R. (1962). A description of Castoroides ohioensis from Minnesota. Proceedings of the Minnesota Academy of Science 30: 6-13.

Faunmap working group. 1994 FAUNMAP: a database documenting late Quaternary distributions of mammal species in the United States. Illinois State Museum Scientific Papers 25(1-2): 1-690.

Graham, R.W., J.A. Holman & P.W. Parmalee. 1983. Taphonomy and paleoecology of the Christensen bog mastodon bone bed, Hancock County, Indiana. Illinois State Museum Reports of Investigations 38. 29 p.

Hay, O. P. 1912. The Pleistocene period and its vertebrata, pp. 541-784. In: Thirty-sixth Annual Report, Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources, 1911.

Hay, O. P. 1912. The recognition of Pleistocene faunas. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections 59(20): 1-16.

Hay, O. P. 1923. The Pleistocene of North America and its vertebrated animals from the states east of the Mississippi River and from the Canadian provinces east of longitude 95[D]. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publication 32:1-532.

Hibbard, Claude W. and Taylor, Dwight W. (1960). Two late Pleistocene faunas from southwestern Kansas. Contributions from the Museum of Paleontology, The University of Michigan 16(1): 1-223 pp., 16 pls., 18 figs.

Kurtén, B. and E. Anderson (1980). Pleistocene Mammals of North America. Columbia University Press. pp. 236–237.

Martin, H. T. (1912). On a comparison of three skulls: Castoroides ohioensis, Castoroides kansensis, and Castor (No. 199). University of Kansas.

Martin, R. A. (1969). Taxonomy of the giant Pleistocene beaver Castoroides from Florida. Journal of Paleontology [1969]: 1033-1041.

McDonald, H. Gregory and Glotzhober, Robert C. (2008). New Radiocarbon Dates for the Giant Beaver, Castoroides ohioensis (Rodentia, Castoridae), From Ohio and its Extinction, pp. 51-59. In: Farley, Gregory H. and Choate, Jerry R. (eds.). Unlocking the Unknown: Papers Honoring Dr. Richard J. Zakrzewski. [publisher?]

Miller, R. F., Harington, C. R. and Welsh, R. (2000). A giant beaver (Castoroides ohioensis Foster) fossil from New Brunswick, Canada. Atlantic Geology 36(1): 1-5.

Moore, J. (1890). Concerning a skeleton of the great fossil beaver, Castoroides ohioensis. Cincinnati Society of Natural History. [incomplete citation]

Moore, J. 1893. The recently found Castoroides in Randolph County, Indiana. American Geologist 12: 67-74.

Pilleri, Georg. (1961). Das Gehirn (endocranialausguss) von Castoroides ohioensis (Foster, 1838) (Rodentia, Castoridae) und vergleichend-anatomische Beziehungen zum Gehirn des rezenten Kanadischen Bibers. Acta Anat. 44(2): 36-82.

Plint, Tessa. (2016). Giant Beaver (Castoroides) Palaeoecology Inferred from Stable Isotopes. Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. Paper 4236. [Abstract]

Reynolds, P.S. (2002). How big is a giant? The importance of methods in estimating body size of extinct mammals. Journal of Mammalogy 83(2): 321-332.

Russell D.A., Rich F.J., Schneider V., Lynch-Stieglitz J. 2009 A warm thermal enclave in the Late Pleistocene of the South-eastern United States. Biological Reviews 84(2), 173-202.

Smith F.A., Lyons S.K., Ernest S.K.M., Jones K.E., Kaufman D.M., Dayan T., Marquet P.A., Brown J.H., Haskell J.P. (2003). Body mass of late Quaternary mammals. Ecology 84(12): 3403-3403.

Stephens, John J. (1960). Stratigraphy and Paleontology of a Late Pleistocene Basin, Harper County, Oklahoma. Geological Society of America Bulletin 71: 1675-1702.

Swinehart, A. L. and Richards, R. L. (2001). Palaeoecology of a northeast Indiana wetland harboring remains of the Pleistocene giant beaver (Castoroides ohioensis). Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Sciences 110: 151-166.

Tomak, C.H. 1975. Prairie Creek: a stratified site in southwestern Indiana. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Science 84: 65-68.

Wilson, Richard Leland. (1967). The Pleistocene vertebrates of Michigan. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters 52: 197-234.

Wood, N. A. (1914). Two undescribed specimens of Castoroides ohioensis Foster from Michigan. Science (n.s.) 39: 758-759.


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