Heliobatus radians, Knightia eocaena
    Green River Formation, Wyoming, USA

    Many of the aquatic animals that lived in the Fossil Lake of the Green River formation were descendants of marine species cut off from the oceans as the North American continents rose slowly from the primordial waters that covered much of the globe. This is the reason why the fossil remains of the traditionally ocean-dwelling sting-ray are found in this once fresh-water location. Like their modern-day descendants, these prehistoric fish were placid bottom dwellers, their fearsome tail barbs providing an excellent deterrent to predators who might otherwise have enjoyed them as a tasty dinner. As might be expected, the remains of these thin, fragile flat fish are rare; their incredibly delicate "wing" bones present one of the greatest challenges to the excavator, having the thickness of only two sheets of paper. In most cases the preparator must resort to painting in the majority of these bones, but in this instance almost the entire structure is present in the matrix. The ray itself has a wingspan of 7¼ inches and measures 14 inches in length. Milling around it on the natural matrix is a school of almost forty specimens of the sprat-like Knightia that shared these ancient waters, the pale orange-brown color of the fossils standing in soft and pleasing contrast to the pale limestone matrix, 20¾ x 16½ inches.

    Estimate: $5,500 - $6,500.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2009
    17th-18th Sunday-Monday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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