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Apsopelix agilis

A Cretaceous Period fish from Smith County, Kansas.

This fish was found and collected on July 21, 2009, from a rock pit southeast of Smith Center, Kansas and is very rare!

Apsopelix agilis was a type of bony fish that existed about 95-80 million years ago in the shallow waters of the Western Interior Seaway and Hudson Seaway.Size was about 1.5 feet or 10-12cm, most likely they lived in schools but are seldom preserved as fossils. They were prey to the Thalassomedon haningtoni who lived 93-90 Mya.

This was all that was visible when I found the fish.

Needless to say I was thrilled when at the junction of the tail fin and the backbone I could see the skin and scales coming into view.

I was surprised at the state of preservation and the whole fish seemed to be stable.

Here one of the fins comes into view and is very well preserved as well.

A fellow "bone digger" had given me a traffic cone in the past so I made good use of it. I have trouble refinding things I've found just minutes ago when I come back to collect the fossil. This cone makes it very easy to find the fossil again.

The fish is still as found, but is ready to be plastered.

I poured the plaster directly on the exposed bones. When I prepare the fish I'll clean the side that was down at the site.

The bottom of the cast is exposed here after some of the matrix has been removed. This was not removed in the field.

These three pictures illustrate the tiny teeth. By the size of the teeth it appears this fish was a filter-feeder, eating the suspended particles in the water. Magnification is 20X.

This is a close-up view of the eye orbit (socket). This photo is actual size.

This view is the anterior of the "snout". The tiny teeth are about half way down from the top, a very faint yellow line near the front of the jaw.

The fish is now ready to be placed in the display box.

A close-up that might show a little more detail.

I'm considering the display is done and will be placed in its own display later this fall. I usually hunt in the spring and summer and make display boxes during the winter season.

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© Bob Levin 2009