Diplomystus dentatus, Knightia eocaena
    Green River Formation, Lincoln Co., Wyoming, USA

    Even amongst the abundant treasures of the Fossil Lake in southwest Wyoming, the occurrence of an aspiration is rare. This is the instance of one fish caught in the act of eating another, where the smaller creature effectively choked the larger one to death, and they were united for all eternity in a never-ending mealtime. The present example, however, is truly outstanding, both for its size and for the level of detail. A giant Diplomystus was undone by a large Knightia, on whom it was trying to snack, the smaller fish protruding almost 5 inches from the larger one's mouth. Diplomystus was one of the voracious predators in this ancient subtropical lake system, immediately identifiable by its distinctive upturned mouth, deep belly, and elongated anal fin. A distant relative of the modern Herring, its name in Greek means "double whiskered", and the distinctive mouth is indicative of a surface feeder. They tend to be no longer than 10-15 inches in length, but this one is a monster, a full 18 inches long, with exceptional detail and preservation, from the mass of bones in the large and heavy skull, to the robust vertebrae and delicate fin bones. The Knightia on which it is choking shows similarly fine detail of preservation, and they are presented together in warm dark brown on a gray-cream limestone matrix, 16 x 30⅞ inches.

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    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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