Bony Fish Fossils

From Ohio History Central

Bony fishes (Osteichthyes) include most of the fishes living today and are divided into the ray-finned fishes, lobe-finned fishes, and lungfishes. Remains of all three groups are represented by fossils in Ohio Paleozoic rocks.

The Columbus Limestone of Middle Devonian age yields fossils of a large lobe-finned fish, Onychodus sigmoides, that was up to six feet in length. Most of these fossils consist of large, sharp-pointed, recurved teeth that were positioned in the front of the jaws. Occasionally, entire jaws are found. The Cleveland Shale Member of the Ohio Shale produces complete remains of small bony fishes known as palaeoniscoids. They are covered by shiny, ornamented, rhomboid-shaped scales. Microscopic scales of palaeoniscoids are found in later Paleozoic marine and non-marine rocks in the state as well as complete specimens in a few unique localities, including the world-famous Pennsylvanian-age, nonmarine, cannel coal deposit known as Linton, in Jefferson County. Teeth of lungfish have been found in non-marine rocks of Pennsylvanian and Permian ages in eastern Ohio. Remains of bony fishes similar to or identical to living fishes are found in lake and pond deposits formed during the Pleistocene Ice Age.

See Also


  1. Hansen, M. C., 1996. "Phylum Chordata--Vertebrate Fossils," in Fossils of Ohio, edited by R. M. Feldmann and Merrianne Hackathorn. Ohio Division of Geological Survey Bulletin 70, p. 288-369.