.9" Fossil Fish (Ichthyodectes) Vertebra - Kansas
This is a .9" wide vertebra from Ichthyodectes (meaning fish biter with comb teeth), closely related to Xiphactinus audax and the 2-meter long Gillicus arcuatus. Large ichthyodectes grew to more than 10 feet long and lived in the U.S. Western Interior Seaway during the late Cretaceous Period. This natural bone association was collected from the Smoky Hill Chalk in Gove County, Kansas.
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.