14.3" Jurassic, Predatory Fish (Belonostomus) - Solnhofen Limestone

This is a 14.3" long fossil fish (Belonostomus) from the Solnhofen Limestone, Eichstatt, Germany. It is well preserved and shows amazing detail. Scales, fins, and teeth are all visible. Under magnification, the details become more striking. It's nicely centered on the thick slab of limestone associated with two conifer plant (Brachyphyllum) fossils.

Belonostomus is an extinct genus of fish from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. It was a slender, high speed predator about two feet long. It had a long pointed snout lined with sharp teeth for catching prey. Belonostomus can be identified by its long body and pointed bill, heavy scales and symmetric tail. it was related to the modern bowfin.

The Solnhofen limestone is a famous Upper Jurassic lagerstätte in Germany. It is where one of the most famous fossils of all time, Archaeopteryx, was found. The fine-grained limestone makes excellent building material, which has led to heavy quarrying over the past two centuries. In the process, some spectacular fossils were unearthed, including fossil dragonflies, fish, pterosaurs, shrimp, horseshoe crabs, and many more.

This area represents an ancient archipelago at the edge of a sea. Due to high salt content, the lowest levels in the water column could not support much life and were largely devoid of oxygen. This lack of oxygen and scavengers on the bottom of the sea led to beautiful fossil preservation.

Belonostomus & Brachyphyllum
Eichstatt, Germany
Solnhofen Limestone
14.3" fish, 21 x 13.7" limestone
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