Large Fossil Gar
    Lepisosteus simplex
    Eocene, Green River Formation, Wyoming, USA

    Easily identified by their diamond-shaped ganoid scales, that serve as flexible armor in living examples, Gars are uncommon in the fossil record of the Green River Formation, and they are among the most primitive of any fish. Their predatory nature is proven by the presence of numerous, sharp conical teeth in their elongated snouts, a format that is common to fish-eating predators worldwide: crocodiles, gavials, alligators, pike, etc., all share the same design motif. Gars tough armor makes fossil preservation of the body fairly simple, but the problem in obtaining good examples can be found in two places: their cylindrical bodies and their gills. The body problem occurs when the deceased Gar sinks to the lake bottom. Being essentially a cylinder, Gars are just as likely to land top-side up as sideways. This is not good, since compression of top-side up remains, results in a fossil that doesn't look like a Gar, but rather in a fossil that only a paleontologist can identify. This applies equally to ones that land up-side down or at a 45 degree angle. The result is the same: a Frankenstein Gar, suitable for study but not display. This one had the good grace to land on its side, leading to its clear and obvious identity as a Gar. The gill problem revolves around the tendency of departed Gars to start the disintegration process in the gill area. A process that can result in the skull becoming dis-articulated and leading to a fossil whose skull looks like an airplane crash. Again, this exceptional example made it to the bottom in "good" shape; for a dead Gar. 56 million years later, a skillful fossil "digger" was fortunate enough to find this 29 inch Gar and remove it without damage. The same digger is one of the top preparators of Green River fossils, which is why the fine details of the skull and the fins are complete and intact: a tribute to his skill and knowledge. One other feature worthy of note: the rich color is not typical of most Green River fossils, it is a hue found only in certain layers of that formation, a layer not normally populated by many fossils at all.
    Overall Measurements: 38.0 x 18.0 inches (96.5 x 45.7 cm)
    Offered at no reserve.

    Estimate: $20,000 - $30,000.

    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.

    Fees, Shipping, and Handling Description: Requires 3rd Party Shipping (view shipping information)

    Sales Tax information  |  Terms and Conditions

    Bidding Guidelines and Bid Increments

    Glossary of Terms

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2015
    4th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 921

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $100,000 (minimum $14), plus 20% of any amount between $100,000 and $1,000,000, plus 12% of any amount over $1,000,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2018 May 22 Modern & Contemporary Art - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I look forward to several future consignments with Heritage and with your continued guidance and expertise.
    William Levin, M.D.,
    Beverly Hills, CA
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2017 October 13 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $1,098,328