Nebraska Man Reels in Prehistoric ‘Bulldog Fish’ Fossil in Missouri River

by Emily Morgan

A Nebraska fisherman recently reeled in something he never expected: a prehistoric bulldog fish fossil.

Andy Moore caught the interesting discovery earlier this month while competing in a local fishing competition. When he moved his kayak over to free his line, he thought it was just an animal skeleton. However, he later learned it was much more.

Moore, who was annoyed when his hook snagged on what he thought was a rock, told reporters: “I have a friend DM me, a couple, going, “Dude, did you know that’s a 90-million-year-old fossil?”‘

Later, Moore got in touch with the Army Corps of Engineers, which controls the river bed he was fishing. They later asked Moore for a picture to send to a geologist who has a permit to excavate the area.

Nebraska angler reels in rare bulldog fish, seeks the help of local geologist

“Five minutes later I get a call, yeah he wants it,” Moore revealed to the local news outlet. Thankfully, the pic had a GPS point of where Moore took the picture, and they went back to look at the area together.

“He jumps out of the boat,” Moore said. “And he’s just like, “oh my god,”‘ adds Moore. As it turned out, Moore had reeled in a 90-million-year-old fish dubbed the “bulldog fish.”

These specific, extinct fish are known as Xiphactinus audax and lived during the late Cretaceous period. During their heyday, the massive predatory fish could grow up to 20 feet long, and their fossils have previously been found with the remains of undigested prey in their bellies.

“Here you go guy, here is this rock that we need you to present to this geologist that needs to be on display for everybody in the world to enjoy and to look at for educational purposes,” said Moore.

The fossil will soon be dried and displayed at the Lewis and Clark Visitors Center in Crofton, Nebraska.

Additionally, someone bid $125,000 to $175,000 at Sotheby’s for a framed “bulldog fish” fossil. However, it sold in November 2020 for $107,100.

“That’s the whole cool thing about the whole story is an actual fisherman caught a prehistoric fish,” said a proud Moore.

Young boy discovers rare fossilized, shark tooth on beach vacation

Similarly, a much younger fisherman came home from a family vacation with the “find of a lifetime” earlier this month.

Riley Gracely, 8, was vacationing with his parents and brother in Myrtle Beach when they went to Palmetto Fossil Excursions.

There, Riley “was walking around the bases of these piles of gravel and dirt and noticed what he thought was the edge of a tooth,” his father said. As it turns out, it was a giant, fossilized shark tooth.

“When he pulled it out, he was so excited,” Justin recalled of his son’s rare find. According to a post on the Palmetto Fossil Excursions Facebook page, Riley had discovered a 4.75-inch angustiden tooth.