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    Description

    FOSSIL CROCODILE

    Fossil Crocodile
    Steneosaurus bollensis
    Lower Jurassic, Posidonienschiefer Formation
    Holzmaden, Bavaria, Germany

    Top quality fossils are referrred to by using all kinds of superlatives such as: collector-grade, museum-quality, and "one-of-a-kind." Then there are those paramount specimens that truly are singularly spectacular: such as this amazing fossil crocodile from the Jurassic shale of Holzmaden, Germany. A pristine example of Steneosaurus bollensis, this wonderful specimen is truly worthy of any museum, or, the finest of private collections. The genus is divided into two distinct skull groups related to the jaws: the Longirostrines, which includes Steneosaurus bollensis, characterized by its long, narrow jaws; and the Brevirostrines, characterized by short, broad jaws. The Steneosaurus genus were known as teleosaurids, which were crocodyliforms similar to the modern gharial, (more commonly known as gavial, or even "fish-eating" crocodile) - their long snouts were indicative of a "piscivory" (fish-eating) diet. Steneosaurus bollensis were exclusive to the Lower Jurassic, and have been found in the Western Europe countries of England, France and Germany in the Toarcian Age rocks approximately 180 million years old.

    Ironically, Steneosaurus means "lizard," but the genus was actually a crocodile, likely living in the coastal waters where it could hunt for fish and other marine organisms. It was considered a very successful genus of crocodile, as the remains of over 50 individual specimens have been found. The skull was very light and narrow with large openings, as well as a long and narrow snout and sharp teeth. The prehistoric crocodilian inhabited the shallow seas likely surviving on a diet of fish.

    This remarkably detailed fossilized skeleton of extinct, saltwater crocodile is quite large and extremely well preserved. The rich gun-metal, grayish-brown skeleton is in high relief on the layered jet black matrix of the shale. The way it is naturally displayed makes for a quite artistic presentation. The intricate details of the dermal scutes are easily visible on the armor plating which surrounds the vertebral column of the ancient crocodile. The skull is large and stands out, even against the rest of the curving body. The lengthy snout is very pronounced: containing numerous needlelike, sharp teeth. The "horseshoe" orientation of the fossil skeleton, with arms and legs sprouting out from the body, gives the appearance that the prehistoric aquatic beast is swimming in its ocean.

    The huge shale slab measures 70 inches x 49 inches (177.8 x 124.5 cm) and is 2.8 inches (7 cm) thick. The outer dimensions of the fossil crocodile within the block as measured using an extremity for each dimension are, 49 x 35 inches (124.5 x 88.9 cm). The skull of the fossil crocodile measures 21 inches (53.3 cm) from tip to back. The creature, measured as though it were stretched out straight, is approximately 108 inches (274.3 cm) long. This is a 9 foot crocodile skeleton! An inspection under ultraviolet light indicates small but numerous areas of stabilization, but no significantly visible restoration in terms of the bone material. This is a complete original fossil - definitely a world-class fossil specimen from a renowned locality.
    Overall Measurements: 70.0 x 32.0 x 2.8 inches (177.8 x 81.3 x 7.0 cm)


    Estimate: $150,000 - $250,000.

    Condition Report*: Condition report available upon request.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

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    Auction Dates
    October, 2015
    4th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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