Two Queensland families holidaying in the state’s outback have stumbled upon the extremely rare skeleton of a 100 million-year-old fish.
The families were in the north-western remote town of Richmond, at a free fossil finding site, when they discovered bone poking out in between the rocks, reported the North Queensland Register.
The remains are believed to be from the extinct Australopachycormus hurleyi, a three metre-long swordfish-like predator with monstrous teeth.
The Johnston family were originally unaware of what they had discovered.
‘At first we thought it was a tooth from some giant reptile, since it was so large and cone shaped,’ said Mirjam Johnston.
‘It wasn’t until that night we showed the bone to a fossil enthusiast at our camp site that we realised it was the tip of a very pointy fish nose.’
A week later Tony and Gail Amos were visitng the same site when they found the rest of the fish including its skull and long front fins.
‘When I put my shovel in the ground I wasn’t expecting to find something so complete. I remember pulling up the layers of rock and realising there was bone poking out everywhere,’ Mr Amos said.
The fossil which is presented at the Kronosaurus Korner, the local museum, is spectacular for being almost completely whole reported the BBC.
‘Part of what makes this specimen so special is that it is so complete,’ said curator, Dr Patrick Smith.
‘We know that it was a high-tier carnivore and that it ate other large fast-moving fish, a bit like marlin do today,’ he said.
‘Because it does fit that swordfish-like shape we know he probably lived in that same ecological niche.’