14.5" Ichthyodectes (Monster Cretaceous Fish) Vertebra - Kansas

This is a 14.5" long, string of 17, articulated vertebrae from Ichthyodectes ctenodon (meaning fish biter with comb teeth), closely related to Xiphactinus audax and the 2-meter long Gillicus arcuatus. Large ichthyodectid growing to more than 10 feet long lived in the U.S. Western Interior Seaway during the late Cretaceous Period. These vertebrae were collected from the Smoky Hill Chalk in Gove County, Kansas.

Ichthyodectes anaides, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.
Ichthyodectes anaides, Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

The Smoky Hill Chalk Member of the Niobrara Chalk formation is a Cretaceous conservation Lagerstätte, or fossil rich geological formation, known primarily for its exceptionally well-preserved marine reptiles. It outcrops in parts of northwest Kansas, its most famous localities for fossils, and in southeastern Nebraska. Large well-known fossils excavated from the Smoky Hill Chalk include marine reptiles such as plesiosaurs, large bony fish such as Xiphactinus, mosasaurs, flying reptiles or pterosaurs (namely Pteranodon), flightless marine birds such as Hesperornis, and turtles. Many of the most well-known specimens of the marine reptiles were collected by dinosaur hunter Charles H. Sternberg and his son George.
Ichthyodectes ctenodon
Gove County, Kansas
Niobrara Formation
14.5" long
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