Kronosaurus Korner Curator and Interpretative Manager Michelle Johnston with Peter and Robyn Mowat and the 'jigsaw' of a prehistoric fish.
Kronosaurus Korner Curator and Interpretative Manager Michelle Johnston with Peter and Robyn Mowat and the 'jigsaw' of a prehistoric fish.

Prehistoric NQ mystery “too bloody big to be Nemo”

A PREHISTORIC  find that could prove to be a previously unknown species was almost lost to the world a second time after sitting in storage for nearly two decades.

Ingham's Mowat family unearthed the fossil of a 100 million-year-old fish back in 2001 while fossicking on a holiday in North ­Queensland.

Staff at Richmond's ­Kronosaurus Korner were amazed when Peter and Robyn Mowat showed them what had been discovered, so the fossil was excavated and sent off to the Queensland Museum and Science Centre, where it sat in storage.

As the years rolled on the Mowats checked in on the status of their find, always with the intention of having it returned to Kronosaurus Korner.

But the mystery fossil slipped through the cracks and was never analysed.

In 2018 Kronosaurus ­Korner curator and interpretative manager Michelle Johnston contacted the ­museum and the Mowats themselves brought the fossil back Richmond.

"It has been quite a ­journey for this fossil," Ms Johnston said.

"There is a pretty strong possibility that it is a new ­species.

"The rock that it was ­discovered in dates it between 98 million and 110 million years old."

Mr Mowat said when the fish was discovered experts were amazed at its size, which was estimated to be over a metre long.

"We were told it was quite unusual to find a fish that size which was intact.

"I wouldn't call it a prehistoric Nemo … it's too bloody big to be Nemo.

"There was an interesting feature on the top of the fish: you could see the pectoral fin quite clearly and apparently it actually had a sailfish sort of dorsal fin."

Such were the excavation techniques at the time that the fish fossil came out in dozens of pieces, which now resemble a prehistoric jigsaw.

Ms Johnston and volunteers at Kronosaurus Korner intend to put it back together.

"Once fossil fish experts were made aware of it, they let us know they were interested in working on it. Hopefully it can be identified," Ms Johnston said.

Richmond is home to ­hundreds of fossils waiting to be unearthed and Kronosaurus Korner runs regular digs for individuals and families keen to make a discovery.

Ms Johnston guarantees anyone who participates in a dig will leave with their own piece of history.



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