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    Description

    AN IRISDESCENT GEM SCAPHITE ON ROCK MATRIX
    Jeletzkytes spedeni
    Late Cretaceous
    Fox Hills Formation
    Cheyenne River, South Dakota

    Scaphites are an extinct variety of cephalopod called ammonites which are related to the nautilus, squid and octopus of today. The modern nautilus retains its shell like the ancient ammonites, but the octopus and squid have either lost their ancestral shell completely or internalized it as a support structure as in squids. The Late Cretaceous seas of what is now the Great Plains of North America literally teemed with a myriad of varieties of these highly intelligent and very successful predatory creatures. That time period represented the pinnacle of ammonite evolutionary diversity and abundance. Today, all that remains of these ancient seas are the dark gray shale beds of the Fox Hills Formation on the slopes of the Black Hills and Rocky Mountains. The Fox Hills Formation produces the most diverse and beautiful specimens of fossil cephalopods in the world and are the mostly highly prized ammonites among collectors and scientists alike. The exceptional preservation possible in the Fox Hills Formation is on full display here as a rainbow of colors dances across this preserved scaphite shell, frozen in the dark gray matrix, with gorgeous "mother-of-pearl" iridescence in green, pink and silver. In addition, this specimen is an example of one of the most beautifully ornate species of scaphite, Jeletzkytes spedeni, known for its large parallel rows of "horns", deep latitudinal striations and fat shell. This is a male specimen, called a "microconch," identified by it being gracile compared to the female. The males are, however, much more ornate than the females with multiple rows of spiky "horns" which are exceptional on this specimen. This beautiful fossil measures 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) in diameter and is 1.38 inches (3.49 cm) thick. It rests on a base of rock 4.5 inches (11.43 cm) x 4 inches (10.16 cm). This is a very aesthetic museum quality specimen.


    [Scale: 1 inch, with mark at 1 cm]


    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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2013
    2nd Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 4
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,037

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