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Giant Hudson River head's owner hasn't come forward

Marist College sophomore Liz Holmes, 19, originally of

Marist College sophomore Liz Holmes, 19, originally of Long Meadow, Mass., takes a picture of her housemate Danielle Carpiniello, 20, right, of Harrison pretending to smooch a large Styrofoam and fiberglass head found floating in the Hudson River by the crew team in Poughkeepsie. (April 25, 2013.) Photo Credit: Angela Gaul

After more than a week, hundreds of mentions in newspapers and online, and TV news segments from affiliates across the country, no one has come forward to claim the giant head found in the Hudson River on April 22.

The 7-foot, Styrofoam and fiberglass head was discovered by the Marist College men's crew team during an early morning practice, Newsday first reported. Team members spotted the Greek-style sculpture bobbing in the Hudson River's waters just after sunrise, and it took 10 men to haul the waterlogged piece onto the college's boat docks.

Since then, the head has become a campus tourist attraction, and experts have come forward to reveal bits and pieces of the noggin's possible origins.

A suggestion to hand the head over to Marist College's art students was made "half in jest," according to college spokesman Greg Cannon, but he said that could be a possibility if the owner doesn't come forward.

"No one's claimed it and I'm not sure what we'll ultimately do with it if no one does," Cannon said.

After a Texas-based antiques dealer and New Orleans native wrote to Newsday identifying the head as a possible Mardi Gras float prop, two prominent float makers from New Orleans confirmed the head was constructed using the same materials and techniques they use to make their own props.

"It's totally typical of what we would use," prop-maker Rachel Elsensohn of Mardi Gras Decorators said last week.

While Elsensohn and Brooke Pickett of Mardi Gras World confirmed the construction and style as consistent with a prop out of New Orleans, both said the head did not come from their shops.

On Sunday, New Orleans sculptor Brent Barnidge said the piece is likely more than a decade old and may have been commissioned as part of a display in a Las Vegas casino or for use on a movie set.

Barnidge, who began his career making Mardi Gras floats and has created props for movies like "Twilight" and the upcoming "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes," said the more expensive pink foam beneath the fiberglass was used in props more than a decade ago, while modern-day Mardi Gras pieces use cheaper pale yellow urethane foam.

"The amount of money that went into doing that is like the stuff you'd use in Las Vegas and the movie industry," Barnidge told Newsday. "It's probably got some age on it. It could be 20 years old."

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