Two Cockerellites (Priscacara) Fossil Fish - Wyoming

 
 
This is a beautiful, pair of associated Cockerellites (Priscacara) liops fossil fish from the Green River Formation of Wyoming. They are both mouth to tail and centered on a solid 13.2x8.6" slab of limestone. The piece comes with a display stand, or we can add a backing and wall hanger to the piece.

Priscacara is an extinct genus of perch from the Eocene (55.8-33.8 mya) Fossils of these fish are commonly found in the Green River Formation in Wyoming. Priscacara probably darted about freshwater streams and lakes, snatching at small creatures like snails, crabs, prawns, and tadpoles.

It varied in size. For example, P. liops is a smaller species, never exceeding
150 mm, whereas the larger P. serrata has been found up to 375 mm. Priscacara means, “Primitive head”. These tough looking, ray-finned fish packed a punch if something dared to swallow it. The genus is known for its protective dorsal and anal spines.

50 million years ago, Priscacara thrived in lakes fed by Uinta and Rocky Mtn. highlands. This plucky genus of perch, possibly related to modern-day Cichlids, is now entombed in the fine-grained, lime mud of Fossil Lake. Priscacara eventually went extinct by the end of cooler and drier Miocene (23-5.2 mya).

Today the wonderfully preserved fossils of Priscacara and other Fossil Lake fauna are collected in several private quarries around Kemmerer, Wyoming. The best preserved fish fossils come from the coveted 18 inch layer. This layer is collected at night under high-powered lights allowing the faint signs of fish under the surface to be more easily observed. These “ghosted” fish then must go through many hours of manual preparation to remove the overlying rock and reveal the Green River fauna in all of it’s glory.

50 million years ago, in the Eocene these fish thrived in Fossil Lake fed by Uinta and Rocky Mtn. highlands. The anoxic conditions at the bottom of Fossil Lake slowed bacterial decomposition, prevented scavengers from disturbing corpses, and most interestingly, suffocated creatures that ventured into the oxygen-starved aquatic layer. The result is a miraculous exhibition of Eocene biota in a subtropical, aquatic community within sycamore forests teeming with creatures such as freshwater stingrays, dog-sized horses, menacing alligators, early flying bats, and one of the first primates.
DETAILS
SPECIES
Cockerellites (Priscacara) liops
LOCATION
Kemmerer, Wyoming
FORMATION
Green River Formation
SIZE
4.9" & 4.3" on 13.2x8.6" rock
CATEGORY
ITEM
#78631
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