2.6" Fossil Fish (Ichthyodectes) Vertebrae - Kansas

This is a 2.6" long string of three and a half naturally associated vertebrae from an Ichthyodectes fish. This natural bone association was collected from the Smoky Hill Chalk in Gove County, Kansas. The vertebrae are suspected to come from the dorsal region of the fish. They are partially exposed from the rock they were found in.

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Ichthyodectes was a bony fish of the order Ichthyodectiformes, which in addition to Ichthyodectes, includes the giant Xiphactinus and smaller Gillicus. Large Ichthyodectes grew to more than 10 feet long and were a one of the principal predators of the Western Interior Seaway during the late Cretaceous Period.

Ichthyodectes anaides, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Ichthyodectes anaides, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Chalk formation is a Cretaceous conservation Lagerstätte, or fossil rich geological formation, known primarily for its exceptionally well-preserved marine reptiles. It outcrops in parts of northwest Kansas, its most famous localities for fossils, and in southeastern Nebraska. Large well-known fossils excavated from the Smoky Hill Chalk include marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs, large bony fish such as Xiphactinus, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, and turtles.
Ichthyodectes sp.
Gove County, Kansas
Niobrara Formation
Vertebrae: 2.6" long, Entire specimen: 6.2 x 4.8"
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