Northern Europe, Middle Old Red Sandstone - Orkney, Scotland, Middle Devonian period, ca. 380 million years ago. A large, natural double Devonian fish fossil featuring two huge armored fish fossils known as Coccosteus cuspidatus. The best fossil examples of these early fish are typically found at about half the size of these incredible specimens, which include an unbroken original rock plate with full skeletal preservation and soft body impressions. The unusual armored-head fish of the species Coccosteus represents some of the Earth's earliest examples of fish. Size: 26" W x 26" H (66 cm x 66 cm)
At a period in time when vertebrates were scarce on Earth and trilobites thrived in enormous varieties and numbers, these fish graced a freshwater lake in the region that is now Northern Scotland. The Devonian Period is the first era on Earth of fish emerging in the fossil record. The Old Red Sandstone layers of Northern Scotland are one of three of the world's most scientifically important and richest deposits yielding fossil fish from the Devonian (the other two sites are at Canowindra in New South Wales and Miguasha in Quebec). A wide variety of freshwater fish can be found in these layers in Scotland from a time when the very first four-limbed vertebrates were evolving. The Achanarras beds, named after the quarry where they were first discovered, can be found in the layers that were laid down in Lake Orcadie during the Devonian period, 380 million years ago. Achanarras Quarry is situated at the top of a hill and is not very large. Since the quarry is now closed, the main central portion is flooded and inaccessible. Many years ago, it was worked for the laminated limestone which was split for roofing slates. The deposits of this formation represent some of the world's finest preserved "first fish."
Provenance: acquired in 2012 from a German collection
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