Ancient fish fossil found in Wichita

In Science magazine this week, paleontologists are announcing the discovery of a new genus of ancient giant fish, uncovered in the chalk deposits of Kansas, Britain and elsewhere. And with that discovery comes the story of the relentless Kansas family that solved a fish science mystery.

The scientists named the new genus after the Bonner family of Leoti, who found the breakthrough specimen. The family for decades has hunted fossils in the bone-rich Niobrara chalk to salve the grief over their mother's death.

Bonnerichthys the scientists are calling it: 20 to 25 feet long, eyes 6 inches wide, a mouth that could have swallowed the eight Bonner children in one or two gulps.

The giant fish ate microscopic plankton, and that's a big deal to fish historians; they didn't know fish like that lived in the dinosaur age.

The Bonners have changed fish history. They did not know this on the day in 1971 that they hauled a giant fish head out of the chalk canyons along Twin Butte Creek.

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