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    Description

    GIANT FOSSIL PALM AND STINGRAY
    Heliobatus radians, Sabalites sp., Knightia sp.
    Eocene
    Green River Formation, Lincoln Co., Wyoming, USA

    The Heliobatus Stingray is one of the rarer species to be found in the Green River Fossil Lake Formation in southwest Wyoming. They are a cartilaginous fish, a characteristic highly antipathetic to fossilization, and although the strata of the formation make it relatively easy to remove the abundant fossils found there, the "wing" bones of the Ray present one of the greatest challenges to the excavator, having the thickness of only two sheets of paper. The preparator's skill is likewise keenly tested in its presentation, and the fine detail of the present example is testament to a master of this most painstaking art. The detail is excellent, from the three-dimensional vertebrae to the incredibly delicate wing bones, 8¾ inches wide and 16½ inches long. The fossil hunters had located the "shadow" of this Ray, visible in the rock some distance above the actual fossil, but as they excavated downwards, they realized they had found something much larger and rarer. For the Ray is positioned - entirely naturally - as though swimming through the gentle fronds of a giant Palm leaf. These floral remains are, if anything, even rarer than the fish; because of the slow and lengthy nature of the fossilization process, vegetable matter is rarely preserved, usually decaying long before it can have a chance to be geomorphically transformed into rock. The superb limestone deposits of the Fossil Lake area in Lincoln County, Wyoming are one of the few places where dead flora and fauna was buried swiftly enough by a covering of silt-mud to preserve this softer material. Even with such advantageous conditions, however, these Palm fronds are extremely scarce. Their thin and delicate structure often means they remain hidden between the sedimentary layers and it is usually only by chance that they are discovered, as here. Even then they are rarely intact or complete, but this is a splendid, large example, with a lovely soft brown coloring. As an added bonus, there are also a couple of little Knightia, abundant in the ancient lake-system, all adding up to a superbly beautiful and highly impressive natural plaque of exceptional rarity, 80 x 48 inches.


    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. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. 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.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2012
    20th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 2
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 4,600

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