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Dory The Fish Fossil Found In Qld


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Dory the fish fossil found in Qld

1st September 2008, 14:57 WST

A Queensland museum curator says he's found the most intact skeleton ever discovered of a 100-million-year-old fish.

Paul Stumkat, of the Kronosaurus Korner fossil museum in the north-western town of Richmond, said the skeleton was found last month in an area of the state's north-west which used to be a vast inland sea the size of Belgium.

The tuna-like skeleton was around 70cm in length and was 99 per cent complete, showing fins, teeth and even the digestive system and its contents.

"This is not a new species but it is the most perfect specimen ever found of this particular animal," Mr Stumkat told AAP from Richmond.

"Previously, all that's ever been found is a head, a few of the vertebrae and some of the pectoral fins.

"It is significant from a scientific point of view because they can do a complete description of the animal, whereas in the past they were only guessing as to what it looked like."

The fossil was discovered accidentally by Mr Stumkat and a tourist who had signed up for a dig to uncover a partially complete skeleton of a turtle.

The fish, nicknamed Dory after the blue tang in the animated movie Finding Nemo, was once a fast-swimming predatory species.

It also could be useful to scientists studying the earth's environment 100 million years ago and climate changes since then as the area where it lived was a long way further south than it is now, Mr Stumkat said.

"Australia had broken off from Antarctica but Richmond would have been down around where Melbourne is today, so it would have been pretty far south in its latitude," he said.

The fish fossil is on display at Kronosaurus Korner

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