The Bony Fish
(Osteichthyes)
This page deals with the fossilized teeth and bones of the bony fish group (the Osteichthyes). These fish have true bone comprising most of their skeleton. Due to the nature of their skeletons, teeth, jaw sections, and occasionally vertebrae are the only parts that are commonly recovered. Their teeth have a hard and durable coating of enamel, although it is not as hard as the enamel coating on shark teeth. Most of their jaw sections were large and robust. This makes teeth and jaw sections more able to become fossilized. The other parts of the skeleton, although made of true bone, were usually thin and fragile and probably did not become fossilized. Rarely did other parts of the skeleton, such as brain cases, make it into the fossil record. Even if it did survive the fossilization processes these usually do not survive stream wear. This would explain why only 8 species of bony fish have been identified from Big Brook. Further, even though the sampling is small the record again shows a disproportional amount of predators to pray (6 to 2). Paleontologists can only speculate to the probably abundant and diverse forms that must have existed and are only represented by an occasional fish scale or vertebrae.
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