Where to find fish fossils

By Steve Sharp

The Green River Formation is a collection of lake beds in Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah that is known for its fish fossils. This prime fossil discovering site is famous for its well preserved fish, plants, and the odd amphibian or mammal revealed by pro and amateur fossil hunters. Fishing for fish fossils is the favourite entertainment of those who attempt to dig up answers to the past from this collection of 50 million year old lake beds.

Multiple kinds of fish fossils have been found in the Green River Formation. Approximately 60 vertebrate taxa have been uncovered in the Green River Formation, and at least 95% of the fish fossils that archaeologists unearth are Knightia fish. These fish are so commonly discovered at Green River that the Knightia has been named Wyoming's state fossil. Other kinds of fish fossils that might be discovered at the Green River Formation are Priscacara liops, Priscacara hypsacantha, Mioplosus labracoides, and Phareodus testis.

The majority of the fish fossils unearthed at Green River are removed from 2 main sedimentary layers; one layer is called the 18 in. layer and the other one is called the split fish layer. Fish fossils from the Green River Formation are generally collected in 2 ways. The first way means the removal of a complete slab of limestone or oil shale from Green River and carefully removing sediment from 1/2 the fossil. The second way involves scrupulously extracting the whole fossil from the sediment for showing.

Other types of fossils are commonly found at the Green Brook Formation; fish might be the key attraction, but other sorts of life forms are revealed there all of the time. Sycamore leaves, river reeds, and wood examples have been found there, as have stromalites, reptiles, mammals, and primates. The oldest recovered flying mammal fossil was uncovered at Green River; the Icaronycteris index was a bat that was recovered completely complete along with wing surfaces and cartilage. Crocodiles may also be found at the Green River Formation in addition to the occasional horse.

Fish fossils could be the key draw for fossil hunters who dig in the Green River Formation, but an incredible horse fossil was latterly revealed at Green River by a fossil quarry master. This Protorohippus venticolum fossil is one of the oldest and most complete fossil example of its type; its finder claims that the fossil contains 95 to 97% of all parts. The fossil has been nicknamed "Dawn" and is thought to be over 50 million years old. The existing requested price is roughly $2.25 million; this fossil has been validated by professionals and is prepared for display as a wall sculpture. 4 fossilized fish have also been caught in this formation, making this rare Protorohippus venticolum an absolute must-have for significant fossil collectors.

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