Saurichthys and Paralepidotus Triassic Fish Fossils

Saurichthys sp.

Class Actinopterygii, Palaeonisciformes, Saurichthyidae

Paralepidotus sp.

Class Actinopterygii, Seminonotiformes, Seminotidae

Geological Time: Triassic

Size: Saurichthys: 66 mm long 18 mm across back of skull. Paralepidotus 20 mm by 18 mm

Fossil Site: Xingyi, Guizhou Province of China

Saurichthys Triassic FishDescription: The name Saurichthys means “lizard fish”. This was a relatively slender fish with a rostrum full of sharp teeth (see closeup) by which it plied its predatory trade in the Triassic. Saurichthys was relatively cosmopolitan, found in deposits on all continents except Antarctica. Notice the detail in the articuSaurichthyslated jaws and skull. Saurichthys averaged about a meter in length, and is likened to the modern pike fish, and may have ambushed its prey in a similar manner. Paleontologists speculate they may have even attacked and scavenged of pterosaurs such as Preondactylus.

In the lower right, on a somewhat lower bedding plane we have some of the ornate scales of a Paralepidotus. Without further preparation, it is impossible to tell how much of this second fish is preserved. Material from the Triassic like this and the more frequently-seen Keichousaurus are often veined with a white crystal. Here that vein posed a zone of weakness, which required repair to the matrix which is relatively unobtrusive. Both of these fish died out by the end of the Triassic.

Also see: Actinopterygii Fish Fossils

click to enlarge



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