Of all the richest fossil-bearing deposits ever known, Brazil's Santana Formation is ranked among the world's greatest. Santana fossils are known for not only their extreme diversity but more importantly, for the nature of their breath-taking preservation - considered by scientists to include the finest examples of fossils in existence. The formation provides an amazing window into the paleobiota of a prehistoric world from the Lower Cretaceous, 110 million years ago.
This large and spectacular Calamopleurus sp. fish fossil, from the Santana Formation of Brazil, is one of the finest examples we have seen. Numerous hours were spent in our on-site lab doing all the preparation work on this supreme example. Calamopleurus is a type of extinct, prehistoric bowfin that lived in still, swampy waters during the peak days of the Cretaceous. Its large mouth lined with an array of sizable teeth, made for a formidable predator. We carefully exposed every tooth and detail, removing the surrounding rock inside the mouth and over all the regions of the head to reveal the heavy armor plates this fish possessed. Bowfin fish were famous for their large, broad and beautiful caudal fin and this too, was carefully exposed to reveal a magnificently preserved, complete tail! Each of the heavy armor scales on the body is also well-preserved and fully revealed in the preparation work.
Because the anatomy of this fish is very delicate, fine quality complete specimens of this species are VERY RARE and an example like this is unrivaled. We have looked in numerous museum collection reference publications and scientific articles, as well as fossil books, and no where can we find an example of this fish that is better than what we are offering here. We have seen numerous fake and worthless composite examples of this fossil on the market - made from multiple fish (head of one glued onto the body of another and the tail of a third).
This prehistoric, dinosaur-era fish fossil is EXCEPTIONALLY RARE, huge and one of the most impressive fossil fish you will ever experience.
Our past purchase of an old private European collection has provided us with this spectacular specimen that goes well beyond the quality and completeness of anything we have seen. With this example, there is no comparison to the "butchered" concretionary Brazilian fossils that are crudely split with chisels to reveal the fossil inside.
Caution must be exercised in Brazil concretion fish fossils. MANY are pieced together with parts of multiple fish to make a single fish but THIS species of fish is one of the MOST COMMONLY FAKED type because of its long length and nature of being found broken and incomplete or poorly preserved. All too often, we see examples on the market that are the tail of one fish, body of another and the head of a third, all glued together to make a single fish. Compare this one above to ones in suspect and you may see the incontinuity of the fossil's anatomy and shape, in question.
In John Maisey's book titled "Santana Fossils", he cites the prevalence of fake, composite and enhanced fossils from this formation that are on the market. The local artisans at the sites produce a wide variety of artificially created fossils - some horribly obvious yet some, extremely convincing out of carefully matched composite pieces. These composite examples are very convincing because they are made up of all real pieces but not necessarily of the same species! Often, missing parts are carved or sculpted from a mixture of plaster, rock dust and epoxy and then painted to disguise the work. A number of these handcrafted "fossils" have in the past, and continue to, make it into the mainstream fossil market. Describing a variety of techniques and types of fakes, Maisey even shows photographs of some fakes for reference to illustrate the breadth, creativity and skill of some of these workers. He also addresses the prevalence of fake insect and other rare fossils within the text. With all Brazilian fossils, collectors should approach prospective purchases with caution for not only the legality of the specimen but also, for accurate disclosure by a qualified and experienced preparator of any artificial enhancement to the specimen.