DescriptionA RARE FOSSIL PADDLEFISH
Green River Formation, Wyoming
Paddlefish are the rarest described fish found in the abundant formation of the "Fossil Lake" at Green River in Wyoming, and are usually represented by incomplete specimens. Like sharks, paddlefish are rarely fossilized. Unless immediately and completely covered by a layer of silt, the cartilage and organic tissue that comprises much of their anatomy decomposes far too rapidly to be preserved in the fossil record. The present specimen, however, is in a remarkable state of completeness, and boasts an excellent skull with a fine and well-defined rostrum, or bill. The preservation is so superb that impressions of much of the skin can even be made out all along the body, together with all of the original fins. Crossopholis is a distant relative to the modern paddlefish, Polyodon spathula, and they are largely unfossified, consisting mainly of cartilage and notochordal tissue. The paddlefish species are filter feeders, straining zooplankton (Leptodora kindtii ) out of the water with fine filaments called gill rakers located in the gill arches found inside their mouths, an anatomical feature predominant in this species. This superb and extremely rare example measures 35⅞ inches in length on its natural matrix of 45¾ x 20¾ inches.
Condition report available upon request.
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