Detailed Holzmaden Pachycormus Fossil Fish

Pachycormus cf. curtus

Class Actinopterygii, Order Pachycormiformes, Family Pachycormidae

Geological Time: Lower Jurassic, Lower Toarcian Stage (~185 Million Years Ago)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fish fossil are - Adult 295 mm - Juvenile 40 mm, both on a 350 mm by 210 mm

Fossil Site: Holzmaden, Dotternhausen bei Balingen, Baden-Wurrtemburg, Germany

Fossil Code: GF116

Price: Sold

Description: The Holzmaden Shale has been quarried since the 16th Century for its bituminous shale having an organic content of some 15%. It was initially used for paving an roofing much like the older Hunsruck slate until it was found to be susceptible to weathering, relegating it to internal uses. While various fossils have been known since these early times, it was not until the end of the 1800s that the exquisitely-preserved Ichthyosaurs came to light showing the outlines of the body led to increased work in the area. The dark color and presence of pyrite shows this was an anoxic environment, one eminently suitable to the preservation of remains in an undisturbed state. The fish seen here is Pachycormus. Its sleek shape and broad tail show it was a pursuit predator. Interestingly, there is a small fish overlying the anal fin. Whether by happenstance or because it was an offspring is indeterminate. It was not prey as it is in a fully articulated state, indicating it never passed through the digestive track of the larger specimen. Whatever the case, this is a fine example of the type of material found in the Holzmaden deposits.. The taxon went extinct is the Lower Jurassic, leaving no descendents.

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