Exellia velifer (Volta)

This Weigert fossil reproduction shows a juvenile specimen of a coralfish belonging to the Actenopterygier; it was exposed in strata some 50 million years old at Monte Bolca, about 30 kilometres north-east of Verona. Exellia velifer, the most beautiful species from Monte Bolca, had a very deep, laterally compressed body, a triangular tail fin and conspicuously long rays in the back fin.

The Monte Bolca deposits, abundantly fossiliferous, were formed in a lagoon which was separated from the open sea by coral reefs. At that time, in the Eocene, a tropical climate prevailed and there was considerable volcanic activity. The volcanoes on the nearby mainland erupted periodically, their lavas and ashes covering the land for some time. But volcanic gases also rose from the off-shore sea-bed, producing a marked increase in the temperature of the water and poisoning it at the same time. Many fishes and other marine organisms came to an untimely end, were embedded in the soft mud of the seabottom and were buried beneath further sedimentation. In these deposits, finally petriefied and now raised by orogenic (mountainbuilding) movements to 600 metres above the sea, fossils have been turning up for more than 200 years. The fishes, some 160 different spezies, are the best preserved of these; traces of their vivid colouring occasionally remain. 

Original: Cerato Collection, Bolca/Verona, Italy

Due to the technical conditions of the Internet colors, brightness and contrast of the replicas may deverge from the pictures shown.