RARE Palaeoperca Fingerling Fossil Fish from Messel

Palaeoperca proxima

Class Actinoptergyii, Order Perciformes, Family Serranidae

Geological Time: Eocene (~47 Million Years Ago)

Size: (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fish Fossil is 45 mm in length on a 60 mm by 40 mm resin matrix

Fossil Site: Messel Pit, Darmstadt, Germany

Fossil Code: GF71

Price: Sold

Palaeoperca proxima Fossil FishDescription: This is a fine example of a fingerling of a predatory perch from the oil shale Messel Pit deposits of Darmstadt, Germany, known as Palaeoperca proxima. This one is exceptionally small, and I was able to secure it from the person who collected it in the field many years ago. Specimens have typically been found ranging 17 cm to 22 cm in length with specimens as small as 14 cm being exceptionally rare. As of the publication of Schaal and Ziegler’s book in 1992 NO specimen less than 10 cm was known.. It is the only species in its genus, and is differentiated from other perciforms by having a double dorsal. They are currently believed to be most closely allied with the freshwater basses. The Messel deposits are famous for their exceptionally well-preserved organisms, some of which have the remains of their last meal preserved within. Soft tissue preservation is a common event in material from the pit, and that is seen here in preservation of much of the specimen. Due to this fragility of the oil shale, this specimen, like all from the locality, has been embedded in resin to allow preparation. The fossil is then flipped over and the matrix removed on the opposite side. A final coating of resin serves to preserve the specimen as seen here.

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