So a few weeks ago my friend Bryan R. (whom I've known since, what? Seventh grade?) sent me a message saying he was going on a trip to the Green River and would I like a fish?
Let me explain: not just any fish, mind you-- a 50 million year old fish!
Bryan and I have shared a love for fossils (and rocks and minerals and Night Gallery and UFO stories and Forteana and underground comics and so forth and so on) for, well, a gazillion years. He managed to parlay his interest (the fossil stuff, not the other crap) into a career (think oil geology) and yet still managed to hold on to his hobbyist's enthusiasm for all these years.
This summer he headed off to the Green River Formation in Wyoming to the Warfield Fossil Quarries to do some serious collecting:
(uh, yeah, I invoked my artistic license here; the photo sequence ain't exactly what happened--notice how Bryan's shirt changes magically from blue to brown--but this'll give you some idea of what was involved)
And soon thereafter a flurry of messages ensued:
B: Yo! Got our box of fish that we collected, am in the prep phase. have to dunk each in a glue-water mixture for a minute, than let dry overnight. Thirty plates!
Anyway, have done this, will next paint each fish with a PVC-acetone mixture to seal, then will be done. Sooooo... should have a fishy out to you in a couple of days.
G. W.: Oh, Lordy, I am SO excited that I'm going to have to line my underpants with Saran wrap. I had NO idea the prep was so involved.
B: OK fossil boy, FINALLY got the fish out and in the mail. About 3.5"-4", sorry it isn't bigger but we didn't really find anything much larger than that. The fish is complete at least (one finds plenty of partials out there, damn rock always seems to break across the fish!) and there is a lucite stand in the box as well. We bought some larger stuff but I thought it proper to send you a fish that I actually collected. Actually, no one much has been finding anything besides the 4" Diplos and Knightias all summer so I don't feel so bad. Confession: I did find a 14" Priscacara on the last day of collecting but you AIN'T getting that!! Having that bad boy professionally prepped (was in two pieces) and will send photos once it is shipped to me. Damn primeval looking fish, let me tell you... basically looks like a giant pirahna with spines. Yikes!
Take care, let me know when the fossil arrives. If it arrrives broken, I can always send along another one :-)
And yesterday it arrived!
G. W.: OMG! OMG! OMG! It came today and it's BIG and it's BEAUTIFUL and it's IN ONE PIECE! OMG! OMG! OMG! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I owe you BIG TIME!
'Scuse me while I touch myself.
And this is what Bryan sent me in all its glory (3.75 in. from tip to tail which is HUGE as far as Eocene fossil fish go and would cost a small fortune from a dealer--click to embiggen):