One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A fossil fish.
- ‘In the limestone and ichthyolites there are more than 20 species of lagoonal fish, fish of freshwater, of brackish and open sea water, all marvelously preserved with well-evident scales and fishbones.’
- ‘The volume explains the forming process and delineates the categories and distribution of ichthyolites in China.’
- ‘But the weeks glided all too quickly away among the ichthyolites of Caithness and Cromarty, and the shells and lignites of Sutherland and Ross.’
- ‘In the more ancient rocks the forms depart so widely from those of existing fishes, that it is very difficult, at least in the present state of science, to derive any positive information from ichthyolites respecting the element in which strata were deposited.’
- ‘It will be seen that the first-mentioned of these ancient ichthyolites bears a name compounded, though, in the reverse order, of exactly the same words.’
Early 19th century: from ichthyo- ‘fish’ + Latin oleum ‘oil’ + lithos ‘stone’.
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