Pharmacichthys Poisonous Fossil Fish from Lebanese Lagerstatt

Pharmacichthys venenifer

Geological Time: Middle Cretaceous, Cenomanian Stage (~95 mya)

Size: Inches (25.4mm=1 inch): See description

Fossil Site: Lebanese Lagerstatte, Haqel, Lebanon

PharmacichthysThis is the fine example of a fish known as Pharmacichthys venenifer. The sublithographic Middle Cretaceous limestone deposits near Hajoula, Lebanon are world-reknowned for their fish, but they also were an environment in which other species were preserved as well. It is 1.7 inches in length, and 1.4 inches high, and is found with two 1.5 inch long Hajulia (named for the location). These are well-positioned on a 3.2 inch square block of matrix. This one is well-detailed in the fin rays and vertebral column, a fine example of this rarely-offered taxon whose generic name derives from the describers notion that the dorsal fin may have borne a poison. The deposits are thought to have been small basins only a few hundred meters across in a warm and shallow sea environment. While these deposits now rest some 800 feet underground, the unrest in the area is the factor that makes collecting these specimens difficult.

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