Genus /species : Lepisosteus simplex (commonly called gar) with two Knightia sp.
Age: Eocene (approximately 50 million)
Location: Green River Formation, Kemmerer, Wyoming, USA
Plate size: 15.5″ x 20.5″ x 1″
Weight: 18.9 lbs
This is a truly fine example of a fossilized gar fish with very little restoration, from the famous Green River Formation of Wyoming. Gars are are unique ray-finned fish with armour-like, diamond shaped, ganoid (composed of an inner layer of bone and an outer layer of ganoin) scales. Their solid heads and elongated snouts with numerous, sharp, conical teeth, confirm that they were, and still are, successful predators. Yes, amazingly, the genus still persists today, after first appearing in the Cretaceous Period, some 112 million years ago. While today the genus Lepisosteus is only known across North America, fossil remains show it was much more widespread in the past, with specimens also known from the Cretaceous Period of India and Brazil. Gars are fairly uncommon in the fossil record of the Green River Formation and are among the most primitive of any fish. This “living fossil” swam in thriving, shallow lakes of what is now known as Wyoming. Wow!