Late Jurassic
Liaoning, China

This very satisfying image of a Wolf-fin fish raises suspicions. While it is accepted practice by fossil conservators to "color in" areas where soft tissue has been lost in order to give relevance to what remains, this practice is sometimes overdone. Because natural pigments are often used, it can be difficult or impossible to detect what has been done by man. Three features in this preparation should make us wary: the fins behind the fish's head and the head itself appear unreal, the leaves of the plant in the lower right have a painterly quality and the beautifully shaded pink background is wonderfully unusual.
Copyright © 2003 Giraud Foster & Norman Barker