From this famous formation, we offer a large example of the extinct Jurassic fish, Caturus furcatus. This is a perfect interior design piece as it is a sizable fish on a very large quasi-rectangular plate, oriented at an angle in the middle. The plate of limestone has been reinforced on the back and includes metal hangers to hang this beautiful piece on a wall. This is a sizable fossil of this species and features multi-layer fossil preservation of the body and internal skeleton of the fish. This can be seen in close-up examination of the body. Skeletal structure is somewhat distorted but the overall piece is full of detail and at a reasonable price for such a large plate German fossil fish. Delicate fin and tail detail is preserved, as well. The large lithographic limestone plate the fossil was found in features many dendrite-lined fissures running across the front in black and brown colors. Typical limestone plate repair, expected on a piece this size. An ideal specimen for interior design due to its size and attractive, natural features as well as soft colors.
Caturus was a primitive species of fish that thrived during the Jurassic Period but went extinct by the Lower Cretaceous Period. This was a mid-size streamlined fish similar to modern salmon. Caturus was a fast swimming predator and had powerful, toothy jaws. It possessed ganoid scales but as a member of the holosteans, was a more developed fish compared to the ganoid-scaled but cartilaginous chondrosteans. The holosteans had a bony skeleton compared to the unossified vertebral column of earlier chondrostean fish. Caturus is unique in that its vertebral column is only partially ossified which is why it is usually without much detail as it was more compressible during the burial and subsequent fossilization process.
The scales of holosteans are a blend of a rhomboid and cycloid profile. Caturus had scales that are more to cycloid in nature. Another feature of the holosteans is the presence of a fully functional swim bladder enabling neutral buoyancy compared to the earlier chondrosteans where fin movement was required to maintain a stationary position despite the presence of a swim bladder, albeit a smaller, barely functional one.
Some of the largest dinosaurs that ever walked the earth were in existence when Caturus swam in the ancient seas alongside massive plesiosaurs and ichthyosaurs!
Famous for producing an astonishing diversity of rare and most intricately preserved fossils found anywhere in the world, the Jurassic lithographic limestone deposits of southern Germany are legendary. Quarries in the region are privately held and mostly worked by hand on a small scale. The finest grade fossils are few and far between and much rock must be split to locate them. The best fossils are most often kept by the quarry owners who themselves, are often collectors. Some quarries are operated on a large scale but these are now dug with machinery instead of manual labor. Because of this the rock is damaged and along with it, the rare fossils. What all this means today is that even fewer fine grade Solnhofen fossils are found and when they are, rarely do the best pieces make it to market. Occasionally, an old private collection surfaces and specimens are sold or traded. This is where the rare opportunity comes along to acquire a specimen on a level that truly is a prize find. Typically, the older material is often the best as it was collected when the deposits were first being worked and quality was in greater abundance.