FOSSIL GAR. Atractosteus strausi. Messel Pit, Darmstadt, Germany. Middle Eocene - 47 MYA. ...
Messel Pit, Darmstadt, Germany
Middle Eocene - 47 MYA
The Middle Eocene oil-shales of Messel are unique in possessing a fortuitous combination of conditions, resulting in an exceptionally high percentage of fossil remains with soft tissue preservation. These same conditions necessitate an equally unique preparation technique. The fine example of a gar presented here was upon discovery, kept in wet newspapers until it reached the 'prep lab', where careful excavation exposed one side of the fish, at which time that surface was covered with a clear epoxy resin. After hardening, the other side was freed from its wet oil-shale matrix as well and that side was embedded in epoxy also. This is the only way the great detail of Messel fossils such as this gar can be preserved. The result is perfect preservation of the diamond shaped Ganoid scales of the skin and the wonderful bone structure of the skull plates and fins. Even the teeth are visible within the finely preserved jaw structures. The Messel site has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site: the only one designated strictly because of its fossils. The site is now closed to all but academic research and any examples of the wonderfully preserved Gars or other animals can only be obtained from existing collections. Measurements: 15 x 6 inches (38.1 x 15.24 cm). Gar is 10/75 inches (27.31 cm) long.
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