Gars are one of the largest and rarest fish found in the formation. They were fierce predators, having a long, narrow mouth full of sharp teeth. It's preserved as a ventral view with the dorsal skull structure exposed to the top of the specimen.
This Gar specimen was found within the mini fish layers of the Green River Formation from our private quarry. Because the mini fish layers are prone to delamination (peeling), we've inlaid the Gar specimen into a thicker, more durable minifish layer than what was the Gar's original unstable host matrix.
Presented on the host matrix, a 50 million year old snapshot of a catastrophic event which took place at the bottom of Fossil Lake. Several Knightia eocaena, perhaps a school of these small fish, met their end.
The story of what happened at Fossil Lake within these mass mortality layers are still debated. So far, evidence of an ash fall from a local volcanic event is being investigated by paleontologists. Another theory, a plume of gas could have escaped from a pocket underneath the lake, disturbing the PH balance of the water.
Plate approx: 38.5" x 32" , 48" diagonal
Gar fish approx: 32" (conservative guesstimate as it is curled)
Due to the size of this specimen, it will be shipped in an internationally compliant wooden crate. The plate itself is backed with 3/4" plywood for durability and easy wall hanging, a french cleat hanging system is included as well.
Please contact us for a specific shipping rate. We've created a standard shipping price for easy purchase within this website. If you choose to purchase with our standard shipping rate, we will still find a lower rate to ship to your area and refund to you any outside cost. We do not intend to profit from shipping rates. However, should shipping costs increase, you are responsible to pay the outstanding fee. You may opt in for in-store pickup to cut your shipping costs all together and pick up your specimen in person. You can pick up from our store location in Kemmerer, Wyoming, or we deliver to both the Denver Gem & Mineral show in the Fall and the Tucson Gem & Mineral show in the winter. For any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us directly.
Gars - 4 Species Identified: Lepisosteus bemisi & Atractosteus simplex & Atractosteus atrox & Masillosteus janei
Order Lepisosteiformes, Family Lepisosteidae
Seven living gar species are found in freshwaters of North America, Central America, and Cuba. Of the 4 Fossil Lake gar species, all but one are very similar to modern gars.
M. janei lacked the long jaw and sharp teeth characteristic of modern gars. M janei. teeth were instead rounded and flat, ideal for crushing small invertebrates like snails and crayfish. This gar species is primarily found in association with these fossil invertebrates.
Outside of the FBM, gar scales are much more common fossils than complete skeletons. The gars' characteristic, diamond-shaped scales have historically been used by humans as arrowheads and on protective breastplates. There tough scales offer significant protection from would be predators.
Modern gar species often migrate up rivers to spawn. This is one explanation for the lack of juvenile gar fossils found in the FBM.
Herrings - 2 Species Identified: Knightia eocaena & Knightia alta
Order Clupeiformes, Family Clupeidae
The Clupeidae family has an estimated 50 modern freshwater species. Clupeidae species can lay as many as 200,000 eggs at once, allowing species to multiply quickly. Modern species are also prone to mass die offs.
K. eocaena is:
- The most common fish found from Fossil Lake.
- The most commonly found articulated vertebrate fossil in the world.
- The Wyoming state fossil.
Both K. eocaena and K. alta are frequently discovered in mass mortality plates, some containing up to 100 fish per square meter. This suggests that, like their modern relatives, the Knightia species were sensitive to environmental changes.
K. eocaena specimens of all sizes are found in mass mortality plates, indicating this species schooled as both a juvenile and adult. The average adult size of K. eocaena specimens is about 6 inches, though specimens as large as 10 inches have been found.