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Dastilbe Fish Fossils

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The Dastilbe fish are from the Lower Cretaceous period, approximately 120 million years ago. They are from the Santana Formation near Ceara, Brazil. 
Dastilbe Fossil fish
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Dastilbe was a bony fish from the order gonorynchiformes. They could reach a maximum length of 5.5 inches but they are commonly 1 to 2.5 inches. The supercontinent Gondwana was in the process of breaking up during the time of Dastilbe but Africa and South America were still connected so Dastilbe fish fossils can be found on the continent of Africa as well as South America.

Dastilbe fish lived in fresh water lakes that were subject to drying in the arid climate of the area. They were tolerant of the higher salinity of a drying lake but mass mortality was a part of life for these fish. This was not so good for the Dastilbe but it was great for fossil formation!

Dastilbe fish fossils were once very commonly found on the fossil marketplace. Not so much today. Brazil, where this extinct genus of fish is found, no longer allows fossil exports. Now Dastilbe fossils are harder to find and many times the price they were a few years ago. Like Brazil, many countries around the world are prohibiting fossil exports. Protecting the historical heritage and natural resources is important and an idea I support but I think that it is also important to be judiciuos in the process. The commercial fossil trade provides a source of income that benefits the local people and economy. It can coexist with the scientific and acedemic comunity for the benefit of everyone. Common fossils like dastilbe and the associated ecology can be studied and quarried at the same time. 
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