HE WAS uglier than a salmon but more handsome than an eel.
And despite being dead for 70 million years, he has achieved the unthinkable: convincing all sides of NSW politics to agree on something.
The First State will soon have a new emblem to join the platypus, waratah, kookaburra and the blue groper.
But this one is a bit older than the rest.
Mandageria fairfaxi was a carnivorous, lobe-finned fish that first swam the waters of what is now NSW about 360 million years ago.
It grew to almost 2m long and used short bursts of speed to ambush its prey.
Its name is derived from the Mandagery sandstone formation near Canowindra where its fossil was first found in 1993, as well as philanthropist James Fairfax who supported research into the paleontological discovery.
Politicians from all sides of the political fray have endorsed a plan for the extinct fish species to become the state's fossil emblem.
The Christian Democrats supported the government's call for the fish to be named NSW's state fossil.
Labor MP Lynda Voltz managed to politicise the idea with a parting jab towards fundamentalist Christianity.
"This shows scientists putting their mark against creationist theories still being taught in schools and so allowing children to deal with the facts of evolution," she told parliament.
"That is why having fossil emblems is so important.
"I am proud that NSW has beaten Queensland to the post and that NSW is the second state to recognise a fossil emblem, although a killer kangaroo will make a good fossil (for Queensland) at some stage."
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