15" Cretaceous Cimolichthys Skull & Vertebrae - Niobrara Chalk, Kansas

This is an impressive partial skeleton including complete skull and several articulated vertebrae + ribs of Cimolichthys nepaholica, a Cretaceous pike-like fish. It comes from the Niobrara Chalk Formation in Gove County, Kansas. The fossil is wonderfully prepared and has amazing detail with no restoration.

Cimolichthys is an extinct genus of 1.5- to 2.0-meter-long nektonic predatory aulopiformid fish. Although the closest living relatives of Cimolichthys are lancetfish and lizardfish, the living animals would have resembled very large freshwater pikes. Their bodies were covered by large, heavy scutes. Typical of this species are narrow lower jaws with several series of teeth. Remains of undigested fishes or squids have been found in collected specimens.

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.
Cimolichthys nepaholica
Gove County, Kansas
Niobrara Formation
15" long, Skull 11"
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