Dayton's Monkey at Science Museum

Science Museum of Minnesota

Dayton's monkey now on display at Science Museum

Display ends on Labor Day

June 15, 2018 - 6:32 am

Remember that mummified monkey that was found in the old Dayton's building downtown Minneapolis? The Science Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul now has it on display.

Resting inside a glass case with a dark background, the remains are in the Museum at the entrance of the Adult Computer Education Center. It will remain on display until Labor Day, Monday, September 3.

"It was a living creature, it was a living being, and we know how to take care of things and be respectful of that," said Museum vice president of science Laurie Fink

She says the specimen, believed to be a squirrel monkey that was found in an air duct, 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. But not its fur coat.

"It looks like skin and bones," she said. "It's very common for moths to eat the fur off an animal like this."

Squirrel monkeys were often sold as pets in the 1960's.

Governor Dayton himself told a story about a pet monkey escaping from an eighth-floor rainforest exhibit into one of the store's air ducts.

The monkey's remains are on loan to the Science Museum from the development team that's renovating the old Dayton's department store building on Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis.