Protosphyraena nitida
    Niobrara Formation, Smoky Hill Chalk
    Gove County, Kansas, USA

    Far too often, terms like "one-of-a-kind" and "museum quality" get overused and applied much too liberally with respect to things simply not worthy of such descriptors. That is not the case here. In this instance, we have a specimen so unique, so unparalleled, that it demands attention. This monumental offering is the first accurate preparation of a complete ancestral swordfish. Although this Cretaceous sea monster was first discovered in Europe and described in 1857 - there has never been a complete skeletal presentation - until now!! Famous American fossil collector and amateur paleontologist Charles H. Sternberg discovered the first North American remains of this ancient predatory fish, in the Kansas Chalk in the late 1880s. He called it a "snout fish" and considered it among the most dangerous fish of the Western Interior Seaway noting its sword-like bill and projecting teeth.

    This full skeleton of the 85 million year old swordfish Protosphyraena nitida, measures over eight feet in length from the tip of the sword to the tip of the upper tail fin. The skull alone is a huge 29 inches long. Moreover, the well-preserved skull contains an incredible 59 teeth, of which the longest is almost two inches. This is the critical aspect of Protosphyraena nitida - it had teeth where modern swordfish do not. Given that Protosphyraena nitida was a cartilaginous-bodied fish, it was to be expected that certain parts of the skeleton would not be preserved in the fossil record. The massive skeleton is 75 percent original bone, and the other 25 percent is simply a restoration of those cartilaginous areas that would not have been preserved. It is a minimal and scientifically accurate reconstruction of the "post-cranial" elements only. All non-cartilaginous parts - the head, as well as the pectoral, pelvic, and caudal fins are all complete and original. The majority of the blade-like teeth are in excellent condition and also original. This is unquestionably a statement piece, and a display fossil with no peer. It is framed in professionally constructed hardwood stained in "library oak" and is completely ready for mounting on the wall or over the fireplace.
    Overall Measurements: 115 x 51 x 4.5 inches (292 x 130 x 11 cm)
    Offered at no reserve.

    NOTE: Under the illustration that is inserted on the fold-out should be the notation: © MMVII NGHT, Inc.

    Estimate: $110,000 - $140,000.

    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. 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 Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2014
    28th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 6,130

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