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Catfish are an ancient order of fish.  Fossilized catfish from the Cretaceous period have been discovered–which means catfish coexisted with dinosaurs (and survived the cataclysm which wiped those great reptiles from the earth).  The fossil specimens pictured here are from the Green River formation, an Eocene era Lagerstätten in Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah.  They are from approximately 48 million years ago.  These catfish lived in Lake Gosiute a large lake abounding with fish including freshwater stingrays, paddlefish, trout, perch, gars, suckers, mooneyes, bowfins, and great shoals of herring-like Knightia (a fish well known to fossil collectors and rock store owners).  The catfish are discovered in what were the depths of the lake, where they could avoid the sinister Borealosuchus, an extinct crocodile which thrived in the warmer climate of the Eocene.

Astephus antiquus

Another specimen of Astephus antiquus

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