Gem Green River Fossil Fish Phareodus encaustus

Phareodus encaustus

Order Osteoglossiformes, Family Osteoglossidae

Geological Time: Eocene

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fish fossil is 175 mm in length by 55 mm tall on a 165 mm by 230 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Green River Formation, Fossil Lake, Kemmerer, Wyoming

Fossil Code: WFF159

Price: Sold

Phareodus encaustusDescription: This 50 million year old, Eocene-Era fossil fish comes from one of the world's famous Laggerstatten, the Green River Formation in Wyoming. A small portion of the fish fossils from Green River exhibits such fine preservation. The significant extent of soft-tissue preservation that makes the site famous is evident in this specimen.

The genus Phareodus is uncommon in the Green River formation and is readily distinguished by the long pectoral fin and large pointed teeth. There are two species: encaustus and testis, of which encaustus is the larger by nearly a factor of two with a maximum size of 75 cm. Other differences are to be found in the body outline, fin ray count, and scale row number. Phareodus sports teeth that are testament to the fish’s carnivorous habit. In fact, the genus name means "to have tooth", with a higher tooth count also found in P. encaustus. A member of family Osteoglossidae (bony-tongues), it has extant cousins found in Central-South America and Southeast Asia, known as the Arrowana and Arapaima. The genus is known from the Eocene deposits of North America and Australia.

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