39.5" Tall Plate With Undescribed Plant & Three Fish - Special Piece

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This 39.5" tall fossil fish and plant mural is like having a prehistoric aquarium with plants and aquatic life on display together! With this and murals similar to it, the fish fossils are extracted individually, then carefully inlaid into the shale to create a natural aesthetic.

A unique combination of natural preservation and skilled craftsmanship, this mural brings the Eocene to life. It features a nicely preserved fossil plant that measures 29" long, two gorgeous fossil fish (Cockerellites (Priscacara) liops) that measure 5" and 5.7" long, and a good sized (4.7" long) Knightia eocaena fish. This unique combination shows off both flora and fauna from the Green River Formation. It was collected by Matt Heaton this last summer from the Lindgren Quarry in Kemmerer, Wyoming. It has been backed with wood for stability and has a french cleat wall hanger installed for vertical display. Upon request, we can readjust the hanger for horizontal display.

50 million years ago, in the Eocene, these fish thrived in Fossil Lake, which was fed by Uinta and Rocky Mountain highlands. The anoxic conditions at the bottom of Fossil Lake slowed bacterial decomposition, prevented scavengers from disturbing corpses, and most interestingly, suffocated creatures that ventured into the oxygen-starved aquatic layer. The result is a miraculous exhibition of Eocene biota in a subtropical aquatic community within sycamore forests teeming with creatures such as freshwater stingrays, dog-sized horses, menacing alligators, early flying bats, and one of the first primates.

A view of one of the commercial quarries where fossils from the Green River Formation are collected.
A view of one of the commercial quarries where fossils from the Green River Formation are collected.

Cockerellites liops is a species of extinct temperate bass found in the Eocene aged Green River Formation of Wyoming. It is characterized by a sunfish-like body and its stout dorsal and anal spines. Originally it was placed in the Priscacara genus but was moved to the newly created genus Cockerellites by D. Jordan and H. Hanibal in 1923. There is still some debate among researchers about whether this new genus is valid.

Cockerellites is found in large numbers in mid-lake deposits, representing 5-20% of the fish unearthed (depending on the layer). It's considerably rarer in shoreline deposits, representing 1-2% of the fish found. Because of this, Cockerellites is thought to have been a schooling fish. They are known to attain a maximum size of about six inches, but rarely exceeds five inches in length.

At first glance Cockerellites liops has a very similar appearance to the rarer species, Priscacara. Size can often be used as a differentiator as Cockerellites did not exceed 6 inches while Priscacara serrata is typically found in excess of 6 inches. Cockerellites also had more dorsal and anal fin rays than Priscacara and a much smaller mouth.

Knightia is an extinct genus of schooling, ray-finned, spindle-shaped, bony fish that shares a family with herrings and sardines. They lived in the freshwater (lacustrine) environments of North America and were eaten by just about everything that was bigger. They ate insects and smaller fish, and used gill rakers to feast on plankton. Knightia eocena is the largest of three species of Knightia, with a typical length of about 15 centimeters. It is the state fossil of Wyoming.

They have rows of dorsal and ventral scutes which ran from the back of the head to the medial fins. They had heavy scales, and small conical teeth. They are popular finds in the Wyoming lagerstätte, and were a primary food source to the large and hungry vertebrates of that once hunted the Green River Formation.

The Green River Formation is an Eocene, geologic formation that records the sedimentation in a group of intermountain lakes in three basins along the present-day Green River in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah. The Eocene spanned approximately 55.8 mya to 33.8 mya. This formation has distinct stratigraphy which displays alternating light and dark layers that represent seasonal erosion and deposition.

Fresh water basins, charged by Uinta Mtns. on the Wyoming-Utah border, contained an enormous representation of taxa. The beginning of the Eocene was marked by warm upper latitudes, a greenhouse atmosphere rich in methane and carbon dioxide, and local climates stabilized by large lakes populated by such creatures as crocodiles. Fossil Lake in Wyoming is known for its well-preserved warm, lacustrine ecology.

The end of the Eocene was dramatically different with the onset of icehouse climate characteristics, a change in atmospheric chemistry, and possible bolide impacts. The Green River fossils date about 48 mya, but cover several million years, including the transition between the moist early Eocene climate and the slightly drier mid-Eocene.
FOR SALE
$11,950
DETAILS
SPECIES
Knightia eocaena, Cockerellites (Priscacara) liops & Undescribed Plant
LOCATION
Lindgren Quarry, Kemmerer, Wyoming
FORMATION
Green River Formation
SIZE
Rock: 39.5 x 22", Cockerellites: 5" & 5.7", Plant: 29" long (straightline), Weight: 52 lbs
ITEM
#233838
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