Predator and Prey Fossil Fish Plaque
Fossil Fish within Fossil Fish
Prionolepis cataphractus with Hajulia sp
Time: Middle Cretaceous, Cenomanian Stage (95 mya)
mm = 1 inch): Prionolepis: 90 mm Hajulia: 50 mm on a 70 mm by 120 mm matrix.
Site: Lebanese Lagerstatt, Haqel, Lebanon
Prionolepis is betrayed as a predator by the long gape of the mouth.
This genus went extinct by the Upper Cretaceous. Hajulia is a small
fish that went extinct in the Cretaceous, but is possibly related
to the recent genus Pterothrissus. The Hajulia may have been too
much for the Prionolepis to handle, leading to the death of the
predator. This is a miniature version of my favorite fish plaque:
The 4 m long Xiphactinus with a 2 m Gillicus in its stomach to be
seen as the fantastic “fish-within-a-fish” at the Sternberg
Museum in Hays, Kansas. Notice too the pair of crinoids on the reverse.
The behavior of fossils is rarely preserved, but this plaque is
definitive proof of what the Prionolepis was doing shortly before
fossil images to enlarge