Phenomenal Fossil Horse from the Green River Formation

$1,200,000.00 USD

Inventory quantity available: 1

We are thrilled to present one of North America's most incredible mammal fossils ever discovered.

On offer is the most complete "dawn horse" (Protorohippus venticolus) currently on record; it is one of only two horse skeletons discovered in Wyoming's Green River Formation. The five fish embedded in the slab are a testament to the rare circumstances that led to this land animal being buried in the middle of Fossil Lake. The details of this intriguing occurrence remain a mystery. One suggestion is that the horse was fleeing a predator and it made its way to shallow water, but was swept away into to the middle of the lake where it eventually drowned. 

P. venticolus is the most primitive species of the Equidae family. This diminutive horse was only 20 inches (50 cm) tall at the shoulders and about two feet (60 cm) long as an adult. Interestingly, it had four padded hoofed toes on its front legs and 3 on its long hind legs. Its grinding teeth were well-suited to a diet of fruit and leaves, which were abundant in the subtropical climate that it inhabited. 

This specimen was discovered in the Fall of 2004 and is among the most scientifically significant specimens from the region. It garnered attention soon after it was unearthed: Dr. Lance Grande of the Field Museum examined the fossil and it later appeared in National Geographic Magazine. A museum-quality cast of the specimen currently on public display at the Fossil Butte National Monument in Kemmerer, Wyoming. 

  • Species: Protorohippus venticolus
  • Age: Early Eocene, 52 million years old
  • Location: Fossil Lake. Kemmerer, Wyoming, USA
  • Found in the Gastropod (Snail) Layer
  • Matrix Size: 28.5" x 30.5" x 4" / 72 cm x 52 cm x 10 cm
  • Specimen Size: 27" x 19" / 68.5 cm x 48.25 cm
  • No restoration or painting - it was found as a completely articulated skeleton
  • Photos of the specimen prior to preparation (meticulous removal of the rock covering the bones) available upon request 
  • Certificate of Authenticity and Letter of Provenance included 

The Green River Formation is a preeminent fossil locale known as a "lagerstätte" - a deposit that produces specimens with exceptional preservation. It has yielded a wide variety of spectacular vertebrate, insect and plant fossils. Numerous fish species, turtles, lizards, snakes, birds, mammals, insects, palms and flowers thrived in what was once a bountiful subtropical habitat. 

The University of California Museum of Paleontology provides excellent information on the Green River Formation

Great photos and information about the fossil specimens found in Wyoming is provided by the Fossil Butte National Monument (U.S. National Parks). 

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