Thursday, March 5, 2009

Fossils as Art

(Above) This is a 72” Gar. It was bought for Harrod’s Dept Store in London.

(Above) Turtle - 48” from tail to tip of nose. Bought in January by private collector from Wyoming.

(Above) This piece is 32” x 64”, and is a bluish gray stone layer that has been brushed to bring out some of the brownish tones. So unlike the natural finish of the other murals, this is more of a smooth matte finish. Priced at $12,000.

(Above) Fireplace with fossils. Click on any image for a much larger view!

(Above) This fossil counter top is magnificent.

(Above) The above object is a whopping 72” x 46”, and is a tan stone with bluish gray veneer, and includes a rare 25” Gar fish. It’s priced at $22,000. Click on this for larger view!

(Above) According to Greg, this palm has just been completed. It is 105” tall x 74” wide! Palms are highly sought after for their beauty, and highly valued due to their scarcity. Price is $75,000.

(Above) This one is 83” x 54 1/2” and is a rare palm flower. According to Arvid Aase, the curator of Fossil Butte National Monument outside of Kemmerer, Wyoming, this is the finest specimen of its kind ever found. Even more rare than a palm frond. The price is $50,000.

(Above) The object above is 36” x 96” and the fish are quite remarkable. On the right is a large Phareodus encaustus, the needle-toothed predator of fossil lake (distantly related to the modern piranha). On the left we have what is known as an “aspiration.” This is a very rare occurrence where a fish died from choking on a fish it was attempting to eat! It literally bit off more than it could chew. In this case a large Diplomystus dentatus was trying to eat a small fish that became lodged in its throat. Priced at $27,000.

WHEN I WAS A KID, I WAS INTRIGUED BY FOSSILS. OK, well—I was also into dinosaurs, WWII bombers and planes, comic books and super heroes, drawing, things I could find in the woods and creeks— and lots of other things. Unfortunately, there weren’t many fossils in my neighborhood. The only ones I ever really saw and touched were in science class. Dinosaurs and fossils actually still intrigue me—only now it’s by watching the Discovery Channel on TV.

So recently, when I saw an ad for “mural-sized fossils,” I had to learn more. So I called the company, Green River Stone Company and spoke to one of the owners, Greg Laco—whose fossil quarries are located in Wyoming, about an hour and a half drive from Logan, Utah.

Greg was great and we talked on the phone at length about his awesome operation. He said that the fossil beds were discovered out in Utah during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad— and people have been digging there ever since.

Green River Stone Company carefully digs, cuts and cleans these giant sized fossil slabs and presents them to interior designers and discerning home owners. These objects are not cheap. What you have is a work of art—a one of a kind object that is millions of years old. You just won’t believe the size and enormity of these slabs. They’re real, genuine and rare, the kind of things that museums usually show.

If you’d like to learn more about these incredible objects for your home, office or planned property—contact Greg Laco at 763-551-0001. Or, to see these magnificent specimens ina showroom setting, contact their Chicago Showroom: Filsinger-Chicago. Call Cary Filsinger at 312-245-0404, or go to their website here.

In the early Eocene Epoch over 50 million years ago, drainage from the newly uplifted Rocky Mountains filled an intermountain basin to form what geologists call Fossil Lake.

The climate of Fossil Lake was subtropical, similar to the climate of Florida today. The lake’s paleo-environment persisted for about 2 million years, and was home to palm trees, crocodiles, turtles, and an abundance of fish. On numerous occasions, unique conditions came together to result in some of the best preserved fossils ever discovered. The sediments of fossil lake were first discovered in the 1850’s near the town of Green River Wyoming, thus the name “Green River Formation” which has become famous. Unlike other fossil formations around the world where fragments of specimens are prevalent, Green River fish are most often perfectly preserved in entirety.

Paleontologists and sedimentologists theorize that the lake was deep enough to be anoxic (devoid of oxygen) at the bottom.

This prevented scavengers from disturbing the fish, and inhibited decomposition. Several of the laminated sedimentary layers contain so many fish fossils that scientists believe there were relatively frequent events such as algal blooms which resulted in large scale fish kills. Algae and other plant and animal life would die and fall to the bottom as in lakes and ponds today. Storms brought runoff from the mountains, covering the fish with mineral rich material that would ensure their preservation.


Robert said...

Wonderful, in every sense of the word. GREAT work, John.

Anonymous said...

I am always amazed at your do you find the time?

Wil said...

This is a great blog, you manage to find the most interesting images. I love fossils too, which led me to wonder: do people buy these slabs and then expose them to everyday use? Wouldn't that be harmful or destructive to beautiful ancient artifacts like these?

John Foster said...

Thanks all. To answer Wil, yes, these objects are rare and expensive. Just like any work of art—you must take care of it, respect it and keep it from things which might cause it harm. They are stone, so they are durable.

Angela Riechers said...

I am fascinated by natural history items as part of home design. These are great finds!

daddylikeyblog said...

This is so cool! When I was a kid, my dad had a collection of fossils, skulls, and bones that he kept in the living room, and various dead animals he'd found on the road in a freezer in our garage. He definitely wasn't in it for the interior design, although now that I think about it, I'm not quite sure what he was in it for. Hmm...

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