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Bat Fossil Skeleton Icaronycteris index
Common Name: Bat
Scientific Name: Icaronycteris index
Class: Mammalia
Order: Chiroptera
Family: Icaronycteridae
Dimensions: Centimetres: 28 (length), 1 (width), 26 (height)
Period: Upper Eocene
Museum ID Number: 52666
Image Number: ROM2004_1028_29

This is one of the oldest bat species in the world known from a complete skeleton. The skeleton of Icaronycteris is very much like those of living bats, except that is has a claw on its index finger, a feature lost from present day species of small bats.

Complete bat fossils are known from only two deposits in the world, the Messel deposit in Germany and the Green River Formation, both of Eocene age. This specimen is from the Green River Formation and is one of the few bats from that location in public institutions.

Although past life was diverse, we rarely have a good window through which to examine it. The Green River Formation is one such window with its spectacular preservation of diverse fish, insects, and plants, and other animals Here, we can view Wyoming during the Eocene, much as it was about 50 million years ago. The deposits represent a series of freshwater lakes. Algal blooms occasionally depleted the oxygen of one of the lakes, suddenly suffocating the fish. The dead fish (and occasionally other animals) sank and were covered by sediment. Over the millennia, repeated blooms in one lake or another of this system created a build-up of abundant layers of thick, fossil-rich limestones.

Location: Wyoming; USA

Collection Date: Acquired on February 6, 2002

Publications: 1. Seymour, K. 2003. "Fishing for Fossils." Rotunda 36(1): 7-8.

Credit: Purchased by the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust

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