5.2 Inch Fossil Priscacara From 18 Inch Layer

This is a nice 5.2 inch specimen of the very elegant looking Priscacara liops from Wyoming. It was collected from the 18 inch layer of the Green River Formation which yields the best, dark colored preservation. Fossils from this layer are much more valuable than the ligher colored ones from the "split fish" layers.

The 5 inch Priscacara displays wonderful detail, with all the fins, spines and bone structure present. It is centered on a large rectangularly shaped slap of shale. This is really a great display specimen of probably the most aesthetically pleasing fish from the famous Green River Shale.

The matrix on this fish was broken in shipping from the supplier and glued back together, hence the reduced price.

Priscacara is an extinct genus of perch from the Eocene (55.8-33.8 mya) Fossils of these fish are commonly found in the Green River Formation in Wyoming. Priscacara probably darted about freshwater streams and lakes, snatching at small creatures like snails, crabs, prawns, and tadpoles.

They varied in size; for example, P. liops is a smaller species, never exceeding 150 mm, whereas the larger P. serrata has been found up to 375 mm. Priscacara means, “Primitive head”. These tough looking, ray-finned fish packed a punch if something dared to swallow it. The genus is known for its protective dorsal and anal spines.

50 million years ago, Priscacara thrived in lakes fed by Uinta and Rocky Mtn. highlands. This plucky genus of perch, possibly related to modern-day Cichlids, is now entombed in the fine-grained, lime mud of Fossil Lake. Priscacara eventually went extinct by the end of cooler and drier Miocene (23-5.2 mya).

Today the wonderfully-preserved fossils of Priscacara and other Fossil Lake fauna are collected in several private quarries around Kemmerer, Wyoming. The best preserved fish fossils come from the coveted 18 inch layer. This layer is collected at night under high-powered lights allowing the faint signs of fish under the surface to be more easily observed. These “ghosted” fish then must go through many hours of manual preparation to remove the overlying rock and reveal the Green River fauna in all of its glory.
Priscacara liops
Kemmerer, Wyoming
Green River Formation
5.2" long on 9.5x6 plate
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