Description

    SPECTACULAR FOSSIL BIRD
    prob. Gallinuloides wyomingensis
    Eocene
    Green River Formation, Lincoln co., Wyoming

    With their tiny, delicate, hollow bones, birds stand little chance of being preserved in the fossil record. The Fossil Butte in Wyoming, however, is famed for its ability to produce fossil after fossil of the most delicate and rarely-found fauna and flora, preserved in the most incredible detail and condition. The present specimen is superlative even by the standards of the area however: it is the spread-eagled body of a prehistoric galliform bird, first described in 1900, an ancestor of modern chickens, grouse, pheasant, quail and turkey. Somewhat unnervingly, it is lacking its head and long-ish neck, perhaps tucked beneath the body, but the remainder of the creature is preserved to perfection, right down to the tiny curved claws. The bones are all superbly well-defined, those of the arms and legs further exhibiting a remarkable three-dimensionality, bone texture and warm brown patination. The world-class quality of the fossil is only enhanced by its aesthetic positioning, as well as by the presence of a fat-bellied, 3 1/8 inch long Knightia eocena, a common herring-like fish in the 50 million year old network of subtropical lakes of this region. The bird fossil itself measures 5 1/8 inches wide by 7¾ inches long, in soft brown shades harmonizing attractively with the pale cream of the irregularly-shaped 17 x 10½-inch matrix.


    Estimate: $18,000 - $22,000.

    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
    June, 2010
    6th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 0
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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