It really is a jungle out there.
Decades-old remains of a mummified monkey were found by crews working in Minneapolis on the massive renovation of the historic downtown Dayton’s building, said Cailin Rogers, a spokeswoman for the Dayton’s Project development team, who confirmed the find Tuesday.
“We continue to find pieces of history in the Dayton’s Project as we redevelop the building,” Rogers said. “Unfortunately, this was one of the recent historic discoveries.”
Crews found the remains while tearing down interior areas in the building as part of the $200 million project that includes office, retail and a food hall.
“We don’t know the origin or story behind this find, but we have been working with local museums to learn more and to find homes for artifacts like this.”
A photo of the petrified primate was shared Sunday by construction worker Adam Peterson on a Facebook page called Old Minneapolis.
The intact skeleton “revealed itself in a ceiling during the renovation,” the posting read.
“Does anyone know how a monkey would have ended up in the rafters of an urban department store and remain there undisturbed for probably decades? ... Perhaps some of you Dayton’s veterans know something about this? We’d love to solve The Mystery of the Mummified Minneapolis Monkey.”
There is at least one theory.
“My dad once stole a monkey from a Dayton’s display back in the ’60s,” Robbinsdale Mayor Regan Murphy wrote Tuesday afternoon on Twitter.
Murphy said he learned of the escapade from some of his late father’s closest friends.
“After he died in 2001, I went on this fishing trip with his best friends, and they started telling stories,” Murphy said. “He and his buddy Tom skipped school and took a bus downtown, and saw the monkey in a cage or some kind of display.”
The boys used a jacket, “brought it home to Tom’s house” and left it there alone, the son continued.
The pet project didn’t last very long, Murphy was told. The monkey trashed parts of the home and had no curiosity about the bathroom, he said.
“They went back in the store, put him on an escalator and left the store,” Murphy said.
That fish tale about young Larry Murphy’s monkey business appears to be no whopper. Dayton’s did host a “Pet-O-Rama” decades ago that was touted in a newspaper ad as being “a menagerie of delightful pets from all over the world!”
The slice of wildlife on the fifth floor, home to the Dayton’s pet shop, included “hilarious monkeys,” various exotic birds and tropical fish, the ad continued.
Regan Murphy’s mother said Larry told her of his monkey-napping back when they were dating in the early 1960s, but she married him anyway.
Monica Murphy said that “it’s been hysterical” for her and her family to have the monkey memory rekindled by this exhumation.
“We should have named it.”
Staff writer James Lileks contributed to this report.
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