Unusual Ichthyodectid Fossil Fish Concretion

Ichthyodectiformes indet.

Order Ichthyodectiformes

Geological Time: Middle Cretaceous, Cenomanian Stage (~93 mya)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fossil fish is 210 mm in length on a 275 mm by 100 mm matrix

Fossil Site: Lebanese Lagerstatt, en-Nammoura, Lebanon

Fossil Code: L526

Price: $1695.00

Ichthyodectiformes Fossil FishDescription: This unusual fish was a member of the Ichthyodectiformes, a group of predatory fish that arose during the Middle Jurassic. The most famous ichthyodectiforms were the gigantic (5 meters in length) examples from the Late Cretaceous of North America such as Xiphactinus. Its predatory nature was well evidenced by several examples of the species that were preserved with entire prey fish enclosed within the body cavity. My favorite is the famous Fish-Within-A-Fish on display at the Sternberg Museum in Hays, Kansas which has a 2 meter long Gillicus preserved within a 4 meter Xiphactinus.

This fine example of an as-yet undescribed member of the Order shows the slender shape of a pursuit predator, and is well-displayed on a large matrix plate that would grace the wall of any private collector or museum. What is most unusual about this specimen is the fact that it is preserved in a concretion, much like contemporaneous fish from Brazil. Typically, those from Lebanon only enclose small fish. This one is near complete, missing only the very dorsal edge of the body outline, and most of the dorsal fin (the base can be seen to the rear of the anal fin). Like all the icthyodectids, it went extinct in the terminal Cretaceous extinction event which saw the passing of the non-avian dinosaurs.

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