DescriptionFossil Fish "Aspiration"
Green River Formation
26.97 x 16.54 x 1.50 inches (68.50 x 42.00 x 3.80 cm)
The vaunted Green River Formation is well-known for producing prolific and often quite incredible fossil fish specimens, including those of Diplomystus, an extinct freshwater genus distantly related to modern herring and sardines. This fine specimen, which also happens to be very large, is not only impressive for its size and quality, but a rare phenomenon known as an aspiration - the occurrence where a larger fish dies swallowing and choking on another smaller fish which ends up getting stuck in its throat - has been captured in this ancient scene. The predatory Diplomystus measures some 18 inches (45 cm) from tip to tail and exhibits excellent detail, with rich, dark fossilization and a fully articulated, raised spinal column. The mineralization of the bones and light colored matrix indicate this is from the famous "18 Inch" layer. The sizable fish has been preserved dining on its last meal of a smaller fish which is still partially outside the larger one's mouth. Both dark brown fossils stand in stark contrast to the extremely bleach white of the matrix brick in which they are entombed. The rectangular brick measures 27 inches (68.5 cm) wide and 16.5 inches (42 cm) long. The piece has been reinforced with a wood backing to bolster the matrix rock, and the work has been affixed with a metal cleat to allow for secure wall hanging of the specimen.
[Scale: 1 inch, with mark at 1 cm]
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