King salmon
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King salmon, Eosalmo driftwoodensis

By the time our most ancient human ancestors arrived on the Pacific, salmon had been around for eons. The oldest undoubted salmon fossil is Eosalmo driftwoodensis literally dawn salmon which lived 50 million years ago. During the late Miocene epoch, five to six million years ago, salmon were giant fish with fangs that weighed 500 pounds. Now, the king salmon (Oncorhyncus tshawytscha) is the biggest member of that ancient tribe, some growing to over 100 pounds. Also known as chinook, blackmouth, spring, tyee and hog salmon, kings are prized by sports anglers and commercial trollers, gillnetters, and seiners from California to the Alaska Peninsula. Its cousins in the salmon tribe are cohos (O. kisutch), sockeye (O. nerka), chum (O. keta), pink (O. gorbuscha), steelhead (O. mykiss), cherry (O. masou) and amago (O. amago).

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