The Fish review

How the review works

The aim of the review is to establish material that is of scientific merit and specimens which are good representatives, possessing public potential for display and community events. These two criteria do not necessarily go hand in hand; as a specimen may have a fantastic scientific research potential, but may not be visually impressive. Therefore the specimens are graded against two separate criteria: Scientific Merit (as a numerical value of stars) and Public Engagement (as a Gold, Silver or Bronze status).  For a more in depth look into the review criteria, click on this link. Review Criteria.

 

The fossil fish collection consists of 18 trays containing 204 specimens from the Carboniferous, Jurassic, Cretaceous and Eocene with occasional Devonian and Miocene material. They are predominantly from the England, Scotland, Italy and Germany, with a few specimens from Lebanon and the USA. The bulk of the collection is stored in the archives at the Discovery Centre, with a few specimens on display at Leeds City Museum.

 

catch of the day

Dr John Clarke led the two day review, conducted as a systematic, tray by tray investigation, resulted in the discovery of some interesting specimens and oddities. The results of this review will occur as an overview, with some of the highlights below.

 

The Gold specimens

 

1883.12

Leedm.B.1883.12

An incredible, near complete specimen of a large Megalichthys hibberti  (3 Gold stars – Leedm.B.1883.12) preserved on its back, from the Carboniferous. Found in Yorkshire, England.

 

The Silver specimens

1979.06.0129.i2

Leedm.B.1979.06.0129 (left)

1979.06.0129.i1

Leedm.B.1979.06.0129 (right)

A wonderful disarticulated head specimen of a Cretaceous Hoplopteryx lewesiensis (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0129) from Lewes, Sussex, England. Both left and right sides photographed.

 

 

1979.06.0078

Leedm.B.1979.06.0078

An interesting Eocene specimen of Berybolcensis leptacanthus (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0078) from Monte Bolca, Italy. Specimen has suffered some damage with repair.

 

1979.06.0165

Leedm.B.1979.06.0165

A well preserved and near complete Eocene specimen of a Mene rhombeus (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0165) also from Monte Bolca, Italy.

 

1979.06.0152

Leedm.B.1979.06.0152

Another well preserved and very interesting Eocene specimen of a Ductor venstenae (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0152) from Monte Bolca, Italy.

 

1979.06.0140

Leedm.B.1979.06.0140

A wonderful Jurassic specimen of a Callipurbeckiidae (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0140) with well preserved features, from Wiltshire, England. Specimen has suffered some damage.

 

1979.06.0164

Leedm.B.1979.06.0164

A wonderful Jurassic specimen of two Leptolepis sprattiformis (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0164) from the Solnhofen, Germany. Currently on display at Leeds City Museum.

 

1979.06.0076

Leedm.B.1979.06.0076

A curious Eocene specimen of a Sparnodus? microstomus (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0076) from Monte Bolca, Italy. Identification is uncertain, as the specimen may be a composite of two fossils.

 

TN5165.i1

Leedm.B.TN5165

A well preserved, but curious Jurassic specimen of a Lepidotes semiserratus (1 Silver star – Leedm.B.TN5165) from the Lias, Whitby, North Yorkshire, England. Featuring a three dimensionally preserved articulated head. Curiously, at some point in the past this specimen has been reconstructed and exhibited the wrong way up, as a coelacanth.

TN5165.i3

 TN5165.i2

 

 

The Bronze specimens

1979.06.0124.i2

Leedm.B.1979.06.0124 (left)

1979.06.0124.i1

Leedm.B.1979.06.0124 (right)

A good three dimensionally preserved head specimen of a Cretaceous Thrissopater? megalops (3 Bronze stars – Leedm.B.1979.06.0124) from Lewes, Sussex, England.

 

1979.06.112

Leedm.B.1979.06.0112

An interesting and nicely preserved Eocene specimen of a Holocentrum macrocephalum (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0112) from Monte Bolca, Italy.

 

1979.06.0160

Leedm.B.1979.06.0160

A nicely preserved specimen of a Jurassic  Leptolepides sprattiformis. (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0160) from the Solnhofen, Germany.

 

 

1979.06.0008

Leedm.B.1979.06.0008

An interesting, near complete Jurassic specimen of a Pholidophorus pachysomus (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0008) from Lyme Regis, Dorset, England.

 

1979.06.0086

Leedm.B.1979.06.0086

A nicely preserved Carboniferous specimen of a Osteolepis sp (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0086) from England. Specimen has suffered some damage.

 

1979.06.0088

Leedm.B.1979.06.0088

A well preserved and near complete Cretaceous specimen of a Macropoma mantelli (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0088) from Lewes, Sussex, England.

 

1979.06.0156

Leedm.B.1979.06.0156

A rare and nicely preserved specimen of a Jurassic Athrodon sp (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0156) from Germany.

 

1979.06.0003

Leedm.B.1979.06.0003

An interesting and nicely preserved Jurassic specimen of a Dapedium sp (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1979.06.003) from Lyme Regis, Dorset, England. Specimen has suffered some damage now repaired.

 

1985.05.03

Leedm.B.1985.05.03

A wonderful Eocene assemblage of numerous Gosiutichthys sp (1 Bronze star – Leedm.B.1985.05.03) specimens, from Green river, Wyoming, USA. On display at Leeds City Museum.

 

The clear specimens

 

1979.06.0042

Leedm.B.1979.06.0042

An interesting and nicely preserved Cretaceous specimen of a Hoplopteryx lewesiensis (1 Clear star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0042) from Lewes, Sussex, England.

 

1979.06.0127

Leedm.B.1979.06.0127

A fair Cretaceous specimen of a Ctenothrissa radians (1 Clear star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0127) from Lewes, Sussex, England.

 

 

1979.06.0015

Leedm.B.1979.06.0015

A fair, incomplete, Devonian specimen of a Cheiracanthus sp (1 Clear star – Leedm.B.1979.06.0015) from Gamrie, Banffshire, Scotland.

 

The review covered 204 specimens, establishing the following summary.

fish summary

Gold = A truly amazing specimen; Silver = A very good specimen that has great potential; Bronze = A good specimen which can demonstrate a particular feature; Clear = A specimen that has limited visual qualities.

3 stars = High scientific importance; 2 stars = Moderate scientific importance; 1 star = Fair scientific importance; 0 stars = Supported by limited or no documentation.

 

 

Summary

John in storeThe collection of fossil fishes in the Leeds Discovery centre is relatively small, totalling 18 trays. Roughly 8 of these contain micro or fragmentary remains, while 10 contain articulated specimens. The specimens are well stored and cared for. The curator continues to update the information for the specimens based upon more recent identification information, and efforts are being made to digitise parts of the collection. All the specimens are easily accessible for study.

 

Strengths

The collections feature numerous articulated specimens in perfectly suitable condition for various types of trait measurement, from several well-known Lagerstätten. Most notable are specimens from the English Chalk, of which there are around 8 articulated specimens with intact heads and two with postcranial, along with more fragmentary material. There are also 5 articulated specimens from Monte Bolca, including Berybolcensis leptacanthus, Mene rhombea, Blochius longirostris, Ductor vestenae and cf. Sparnodus. Five or six specimens from the Devonian of Scotland are worthy of further examination, as is the collection of Lower Jurassic ‘pholidophorids’ (~8) and Dapedium (~5). Other articulated specimens are typically the sole representative of their deposit in the collections.

 

Weaknesses

Many specimens lack provenance and stratigraphic details, obscuring the potential historical importance of the collection. Because it is difficult to trust the locality information of many specimens, the scientific value of the collection is also reduced, as few firm claims that hinge upon site information can be substantiated. Nevertheless, the matrix of numerous taxa can be relatively well matched to famous sites, and so can still be utilized to some degree.

 

The fossil fish, along with all the other collections are open and free for anyone to view by appointment, just call Leeds Discovery Centre on 0113 378 2100 or email discovery.centre@leeds.gov.uk

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank John for this review over two great days, and for his invaluable help identifying and updating taxonomic names.

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Posted on May 13, 2016, in Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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