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Showing most informative content since 02/23/2013 in all areas

  1. 35 likes
    Dinosaur skin are a highly sought-after fossil. The ones usually available to collectors are Edmontosaurus skin impressions from Lance, or Hell Creek Formation, and they aren't as rare or expensive as you might expect, fetching up to 100-200 USD per inch depending on quality. However, it is easy to mistake a bumpy piece of rock, mud sediment, septarian nodule, concretions, or a coral fossil as dino skin. Right now there are at least several of such on our favorite auction site. Here are examples of fossils/pseudofossils mistaken as dinosaur skin: And here are real Edmontosaurus skin impressions: Positives: Negatives: So how do we tell real skin impressions from misidentified ones? Honestly, it isn't always easy, but here are four basic guidelines. 1) Skin impressions come as negatives or positives. If it comes with both, even better! 2) Skin impressions are rarely ever a complete piece by themselves(not the way a tooth or an ammonite is). Instead, skin impressions are often fragments, or look like they are broken off from larger chunks 3) There should be a uniform shape to each individual scale/osteoderm. Refer to the negative pictures above 4) Most skin impressions come from South Dakota. If you get another locality, be on extra alert - it's either another species(and thus very expensive), or misidentified If in doubt, ask the forum before purchasing. There are plenty of experts here glad to help. Have fun shopping!
  2. 31 likes
    The popular collected trilobite Phacops rana is well embedded in literature for over a hundred years. Then in 1990 it was renamed Eldredgeops rana. A lot of collectors did not understand why the name change and I would like to attempt to clarify why the change. The purpose of this post is to point out the differences I have observed between Phacops and Eldredgeops and explain why "rana" is an Eldredgeops and not a Phacops. The literature on phacopid systematics is in a mild state of disarray. Authors have built on the errors of previous authors. There is no good English diagnostic description of Phacops based on the type species of P. latifrons. This has resulted in different English definitions of Phacops and causing much confusion. I'll first start with a review of what are the types and where they come from. Types: 1. Phacops Emmrich (1839) described the genus Phacops based on the species Calymmene latifrons Bronn, 1825 from the Middle Devonian (Eifelian Junkerberg Formation), Gerolstein, Germany. Because the holotype has been lost, it has not been clear what to base the diagnosis of Phacops on over many years. Then Struve (1982) illustrated topotype material but it was Basse (2006) who designated the neotype of Phacops latifrons. Now there is a definitive specimen to base the description of Phacops on. I have been fortunate to have traded for a topotype cephalon of Phacops latifrons Definition of topotype - a specimen of a species collected at the locality at which the original type was obtained 2. Eldredgeops Stewart (1927) described Phacops rana milleri from the Middle Devonian (Givetian Silica Shale), Sylvania, Ohio. Struve (1990) designated Phacops rana milleri the type species of Eldredgeops. I believe the different subspecies of Phacops rana described by Eldredge (1972) are different species and are assigned to Eldredgeops. I will to refer to these different species Eldredgeops as the "rana group" as a way to simplify the naming of all the different species. Observed different characters: I do not know what are the diagnostic generic features of Phacops or Eldredgeops. All I'm doing is listing some of the differences I have observed between these two trilobites to show they are different genera. Pictures of Phacops latifrons and Eldredgeops milleri are below for comparison with numbers pointing to the different features. Pictures of Eldredgeops rana from New York are also included so one can compare the two species of Eldredgeops and see how they differ. Now for the first time a topotype specimen of Phacops latifrons is compared with a topotype specimen of Eldredgeops milleri. There is no place in the literature where this is done. 1) marginulation - a raised ridge along the ventral margin of the cephalon. It is present in the "rana group" and absent in P. latifrons. It has been used by Flick and Struve (1984) as a diagnostic feature for their tribe Geesopini. Note: The value of this feature for the tribe has been questioned. McKellar and Chatterton (2009) state "This feature has never really been evaluated from a phylogenetic standpoint" 2) The post ocular ridge is prominent in P. latifrons and is absent in the "rana group" 3) The palpebral area is smaller in P. latifrons than in the "rana group" 4) The palpebral lobe is smaller in P. latifrons than in the "rana group" 5) The number of eye files in the "rana group" ranges from 15-18. E. milleri has 18 and E. rana has 17. In P. latifrons the number of eye files is 14-15. The topotype specimen has15 files with a maximum number of 5 lenes. 6) The maximum number of lenes in P. latifrons is between 4-5; E. milleri has 8-9; E. crassituberculata has 6 or less; E. rana 6 Note: Both P. latifrons and E. norwoodensis from the Cedar Vally Formation have the same number of files (15) in the eye. One might determine that this would result in the palpebral lobe being the same size but this does not happen. P. latifrons is smaller than E. norwoodensis. So there is some other factor affecting the size of the palpebral lobe. 7) The subocular pad is present in P. latifrons and absent in the "rana group" 8) The glabella is inflated and its front wall varies from vertical to slightly overhanging the anterior border in the "rana group" and is not as inflated in P. latifrons 9) Lateral preoccipital lobe is round in P. latifrons and is rectangular in Eldredgeops. To summarize the differences: Eldredgeops is marginulated, has an inflated glabella, a rectangular lateral preoccipital lobe, the palpebral area and palpebral lobe and larger than P. latifrons, and does not have a post ocular ridge and subocular pad. Phacops latifrons is not marginulated and the glabella is not inflated, has a post ocular ridge and a subocular pad and a round lateral preoccipital lobe. the palpebral area and palpebral lobe are smaller than Eldredgeops. Other observations: These two genera occur in different time periods. Phacops latifrons is in Middle Devonian Eifelian and Eldredgeops milleri is in the Middle Devonian Givetian It appears all the phacopid of North America disappear at the end of the Eifelian and Eldredgeops migrates from the Old World fauna into North America in the Givetian. Eldredgeops does not evolve from any North American phacopid. Eldredgeops is in the Tribe Geesopini and all the genera of this tribe have not been validated. If these genera are reexamined, it is possible that Eldredgeops could become a junior objective synonym of an another genus in the Tribe Geesopini. Hopefully, now collectors will understand the differences between Phacops and Eldredgeops and why the "rana" group is now referred to as Eldredgeops.
  3. 28 likes
    FOUND IT! It was in Seilacher's Trace Fossil Analysis:
  4. 27 likes
    Looks like we have a number of new members who are interested in Dinosaur teeth so I thought this topic might be good for them and serves as a reminder for more experienced collectors. Let me start off the discussion by saying that identifying isolated dinosaur teeth is a challenge even for more experience collectors, so its not a trivial task. There is no one cookbook that has all the answers, just a number of technical papers and articles that provide some information on different localities or species. Many of teeth that are sold online carry identifications that dealers have historically ascribed to them but in too many cases these names are not accurate or are out of date. This is very common not only from Morocco but also North America, Europe and Asia. New discoveries can change the playing field very quickly and sellers may not be not quick to keep abreast of these changes. So let me recommend the following 1) Purchase/Trade for quality teeth, the better the preservation the higher chance you have in getting an accurate ID. Teeth missing a significant portion of serrations on one or both edges, or very worn herbivore teeth can be very difficult to properly diagnose. Avoid buying: worn, cheap or incomplete teeth, save your money on better Q ones, exception being extremely rare teeth. 2) Do not trust any identification you see on a tooth. I don't care if its from a trusted dealer, a dealer you've done business with before, a friend, a member of this forum or any auction site. You need to be the expert. 3) Educated yourself as much as possible, read papers, books or informational topics on this forum. Ask questions and post your interest here on the forum B4 you buy or trade. 4) Photos: Other than the obvious ID's you cannot look at the front and back of a theropod tooth to determine what it is, especially Triassic and Jurassic material. At a minimum photos needed are from both sides, base and closeup of the serrations. If a someone is not interested in providing you these photos, move on and purchase/trade from someone else. 5) Additional characteristics may be required and that will be dependent on what you are buying. These include serration density at the midline of both carinae, width and length of the base and how far the mesial carina extends to the base. Again if someone is not willing to provide you this information just move on. 6) Provenance is very important in trying to get an accurate ID. Teeth from North American require the following information at a minimum: Geologic Formation, State/Province, and in the US needs to include County. The county provides you a check and balance to verify that the formation provided is good. Locality information that only includes a state or province like Alberta or Montana is not adequate to identify teeth. Getting complete information from other Geographic locations can be problematic so try to obtain as much as possible. 7) Avoid restored teeth unless it minimal or done on super rare teeth. Repairs are acceptable that includes crack fill or reattachment of broken teeth.. 8) More often that not you will not be able to identify down to a species name so its acceptable to have your tooth identified to a genus or family name. examples include: Tyrannosaurid indeterminate or Daspletosaurus sp. . Be patient someday your tooth may be fully described. Here are a couple of illustrations to help understand tooth terminology if asked to provide information. From " A proposed terminology of theropod teeth (Dinosauria, Saurischia) by Hendrickx, Mateus et al (2015) "
  5. 26 likes
    The discovery of the Tyrannosaurus rex led by a team from the Burke Museum made news last year. I've attached some photos of the preparation of the skull provide by the Burke Museum to show their progress with this dinosaur They have named this animal "Tufts-Love Rex" after Jason Love and Luke Tufts, the two volunteers who discovered it. Lower Jaw is exposed from its tomb. What a beautiful set of chompers The Skull is next. Maxilla More will follow as work continues..... @Pagurus
  6. 25 likes
    A Beginner's Guide to Fossil Hunting So you think you want to fossil hunt? Start your journey on the internet. 1. Do a search for fossil websites and fossil documents for your state, region, locality. You should be able to come up with PDF's of local fossils with pictures and often a “basics” guide for your area. Hopefully you will find fairly local websites that will have pictures of local fossils and perhaps even where to find them. Familiarize yourself with what you are likely to find, and remember that the fossils with probably be in matrix (rock) and you will only find a small portion peeking out. Check to see if you have any local museums, etc. that have fossil collections for public viewing - check them out. This will also teach you what kind of fossil hunting you will be doing – beach combing, sifting for sharks teeth, breaking shale, or walking road cuts and dry washes. 2. Do an internet search for the GEOLOGIC MAPS for your area. Most of the time, these will be online through a government or university office. If you can't find them on the internet, call or stop by your local government office that functions for “planning and zoning” or perhaps “environmental services”. These maps are usually accessed by well drillers and companies that install sewer systems. Ask them for the geologic bedrock maps for your area. Many times they will either just give them to you or there is a nominal charge. These maps will give you the names of the bedrock formations in your area, and if you are lucky, will even tell you which bedrock is in which time period (Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, etc.), if it is fossiliferous or not and maybe even what fossils have been found there. If not, you can simply research the names of the formations and find that information out yourself. If you are interested in geology as well, go to your local library or search the internet for geology books for your area that are written for the lay person, a good series in the United States is the “Roadside Geology for...”. But your geologic formation maps will give you what you need to know for fossil hunting. 3. Find a road map of your area (Google Maps) and approximately match up the road map with the fossiliferous areas shown on the geologic map. You now have a general area to hunt and know what fossils you are looking for. If you are handy with the internet, go to Google Earth and start your search with a virtual drive of the roads you think will be most productive. You should be able to see the road cuts, rock formations, dry creek beds, creeks and rivers, beaches, etc. along the road as well as whether or not there is potentially safe parking near the site. If you can master this, it will save you hours of time and $ in gas! 4. Do a search for local rock, mineral and fossil clubs in your area. Mentoring from experienced members is invaluable! And they may even have field trips and digs that you can attend! While you are at it, see if there are any fossil parks near you. 5. Your first hunt - what do you need? Something to carry your fossils in and drinking water. Tip: take an empty bottle, fill it half full with water and freeze it. Before you leave fill the rest with water and you will have ice cold water for several hours. Everything depends on your area and comfort level and if you are hunting alone or with children. A bag, pail or backpack with a handle are all good for carrying your finds. Bring something to drink to stay hydrated and something to eat if desired. A sieve if looking for sharks' teeth, etc. in creeks and a hammer to knock away excess matrix if desired. If you are taking children, make it FUN! Depending on the age of the child, they can actually do all the research for you and plan the trip! Think picnic with kids. Drinks and finger food. They should have their own bags. A magnifying glass would be good. Depending on your area and the time of year, sunscreen, insect repellant, TP, band aids, water shoes, whatever is appropriate. And personally, I recommend a whistle for every member of the party in case you get separated – 3 short blasts for an emergency (I'm lost, sprained ankle, I'm scared.) and 1 if you found a patch of fossils - they will often be in groups. Practice with the whistles before the hunt, not in the car as you are going to the hunt. :-D Bring home anything that looks like it may be a fossil, you just never know. The first time I took my granddaughter out on a hunt the very first thing she found I couldn't identify – rock or fossil? It didn't look like anything I had ever found before, but it was interesting. I ended up posting it in the Fossil ID section and it turned out to be a stunning example of a fairly rare for this area Ordovician Halysites Coral (Chain Coral)! Beginner's luck! And she was hooked! 6. Identifying your fossils. If you followed this format, you have probably downloaded several PDFs of common fossils for your area. Compare what you have found to the images. Still not sure? Get as close as possible and then do a Google Advanced Image search here (just bookmark it): http://www.google.com/advanced_image_search?hl=en When you see an image that looks close to your find, click on it and go to the site where it was found and read a little about it. Not all images will be accurate! Still not sure? Take a good quality picture of it from several sides (Please use a ruler, tape measure, coin, whatever, for size approximation.) and post it in the Fossil ID section of thefossilforum.com, along with... a. Approximately where you found it, a park, a part of the state, whatever. b. What you think the geologic formation is – that's what your map is for, and c. The time period (Cambrian, Ordovician, Silurian, Mississippian, etc.) you think it is from. Then wait patiently and see if someone is able to identify it for you. Please wait at least 24 hours before you thank the people who have tried to identify it for you, because the first IDs may not be correct and not all members get on every day. It took me almost a year to figure this out – slow learner! I hope this helps you jump start your own Adventures Fossil Hunting! Bev :-D Okay Guys & Gals, I just compressed everything we had on that recent beginner's topic into one post, added a few things and some pictures. I tried to make it generic enough so that anyone in the world could get the drift on beginners' basics and whatever kind of fossils they are hunting.
  7. 24 likes
    Hi all, I am noticing an increasing number of sellers (especially those based in Asia) who advertise on Facebook, Instagram, WeChat and other social media instead of eBay. Unfortunately, many of them do not use Paypal. As you know, not every payment platform has buyer protection. To protect yourself, please carry out these checks: 1) Find out why the seller doesn't use Paypal. Is it for a legitimate reason? E.g. a Lebanese seller can't use Paypal as it's restricted there. Mainland China sellers apparently, CAN use Paypal, so take extra care if they refuse to use it. 2) Check the seller's track records. Ask friends and trusted collectors if any of them have ever made successful dealings with the seller. 3) Beware of similar photos on multiple platforms. Scammers sometimes create fake profiles that look just like a legitimate dealer, and steal their pictures as well. Perform background checks. Don't just assume that a dealer has multiple accounts, FIND OUT. Message him on his separate accounts (e.g. Facebook and eBay) and see if he notices. 4) Beware of non-Paypal platforms such as AliPay, WeChat and Western Union etc. There is little-to-no buyer protection on them. Don't send your money over unless you are absolutely sure of this deal. 5) Ask questions! Does the dealer know what shipping to use? Can the dealer take multiple photos of the fossil for you at specific angles you request? Is the dealer evasive with his answers? Is the deal too good to be true? There is no such thing as too much checking. 6) Be objective. It doesn't matter how friendly a dealer is. He could be the friendliest man on the planet, asking you about your family and work, laughing at your jokes, liking all your pictures. Most of the time, all they want is your money. Dealers who genuinely want to be your friend are rare gems, and worth holding on to. 7) Facebook mutual friends / Instagram followers doesn't matter. Scammers can make attractive accounts and add a thousand friends just to look trustworthy. I've seen a scammer FB account that shared over 100 mutual friends with me. 8) Does your credit card protect you? Assuming the dealer is sketchy, but you are somewhat sure of this deal, find out if your credit card/bank can protect you if this is a scam. Take note that AliPay doesn't work with many major credit cards. 9) If all else fails, demand Paypal. If the dealer genuinely wants business, and he operates in a country with Paypal, then it's in his best interest to use Paypal. Remember - great fossils appear every other day. Is this deal so special as to be worth the risk you're taking? Lastly, don't forget to post some pictures here at TFF; there are many experts here more than willing to share their expertise. Good luck!
  8. 23 likes
    There are a lot of experienced dinosaur collectors out there but for the newbie I thought a topic on the anatomy of bones and teeth would be beneficial, in plain english. Avoids reading pdf's that are difficult to get through the technical terms. Orientation Skeleton The specific sketal structure of a dinosaur varies between theropod and herbivore but the major elements are typical. Skulls of dinosaurs are not comprised of a single bone but many elements The holes in the skull are identified as follows Theropod Teeth Theropod teeth are widely collected let's look at their anatomy and nomenclature Tooth Orientation Apical- The direction from the cervix to the apex (Fig. 1C, E). Basal- The direction from the apex to the cervix (Fig. 1C, E). Mesial- The direction towards the jaw midline, center (Fig. 1C). Mesial can refer also to the surface facing the jaw midline, center. Distal- This term is used slightly differently for teeth versus denticles. For teeth, distal refers to the direction away from the jaw center and towards the posterior end of the jaw (Fig. 1C). For denticles, distal refers to the direction away from the crown, from the denticle base to the denticle apex (Fig. 1E). Proximal- From the denticle apex to the base, proximal refers to the direction towards the crown ( Fig. 1E). Labial- The surface or direction pointing from the skull outwards, thus towards the lips or cheeks ( Fig. 1D). Lingual- The surface and direction towards the skull midline, thus facing the tongue ( Fig. 1D). Tooth Situation and Position Isolated Tooth- Tooth shed or non-articulated with the toothbearing bone. This is what collectors typically purchase. Shed Tooth- Tooth lost while alive,, either falling out due to the eruption of the replacement tooth or when processing food (e.g., biting, impaling, shearing, chewing), and therefore only preserving the crown and the basal-most part of the root. In Situ Tooth-Tooth within the alveolus of the tooth-bearing bone. Erupted Tooth- Tooth that grew outside the tooth-bearing bone, thus fully visible in the mouth. Unerupted Tooth- Tooth within the alveolus and still inside the jaw, and therefore not visible or only partially visible in the mouth. Premaxillary Tooth - Tooth in front of the upper jaw, typically four would exist in a theropod Maxillary Tooth - Tooth in the upper jaw that follow the Premaxillary teeth. Dentary Tooth- Tooth in the lower jaw Tooth Anatomy Crown (co) Portion of the tooth covered with enamel, typically situated above the gum and protruding into the mouth Root (ro) Portion of the tooth beneath the gum and embedded in an alveolus or an open alveolar groove
  9. 23 likes
    Nacre consists of rounded or polygonal (normally hexagonal) tablets of aragonite, which is a form of calcium carbonate. The plate-like tablets are arranged in broadly continuous, regular, mutually parallel laminae which are separated by sheets of organic matrix. That matrix is composed of biopolymers such as chitin, lustrin and silk-like proteins. It’s that unique arrangement, coupled with the fact that the thickness of the aragonite tablets approximates to the wavelength of visible light, which creates the interference pattern of iridescence we call “mother of pearl”. The other parts of mollusc shells are composed principally of aragonite, with some calcite. Although they’re both calcium carbonates, aragonite is geochemically unstable over long periods of time and readily converts to stable calcite in most shelly fossils by recrystallization during diagenesis and post-diagenetic alteration. Those processes also destroy the organic components of the nacre. Although it’s possible for the tablet arrangement of the original nacreous structure to be preserved (it’s sometimes replaced as a pseudomorph by the phosphate mineral apatite), the iridescence doesn’t survive in those circumstances. Intact original nacreous structures with iridescence are only seen in two sets of circumstances. Young fossils, or those where something has prevented the recrystallization… and that “something” is most usually petroleum or one of its derivatives. Famously, for example, the Buckhorn Lagerstätte of Oklahoma is rich in aragonitic shelly fossils preserved with their original iridescent nacre. In fact it’s the oldest deposit in the world which contains such material. It’s a late Middle Pennsylvanian palaeo-seafloor oil seep deposit which became impregnated with asphalt before the sediments lithified and that prevented the nacre from recrystallizing.
  10. 22 likes
    It's September and a great time to go out in the badlands of Montana and South Dakota hunting for Dinosaurs. I try to go out at least twice a year unfortunately family health issues prevented me from a earlier trip so I was happy to be able to go on this one. My South Dakota site is in the upper Hell Creek Formation and full of the hadrosaur Edmontosaurus annectens plus the occasional theropod tooth. All of the bones collected come from this site however some of the teeth I show come from a channel deposit in Montana. I've been collecting this site for 20 years and its still delivering. We are on the edge of a bluff and the fossil layer can be between 2 to 4 feet. Lots of good bones are to be found but we also have lots of punky or junk bones and about 70 % is collectible. The site is quite large and like I said last year we have no idea of its size but it contains scores of hadrosaurs all disarticulated. No skulls are found but all the elements that make up a skull are collected. Some pictures of the site and locality The collecting area is between the white lines My tools are pretty simple and those shown are used 90% of the time. I also use a pick. We have no equipment to remove the overburden so its our biggest challenge and can be quite daunting for those not physically in shape, like most of us The collecting layer starts off with a crumbly pebble deposit where the teeth are found then turns into sand where little is found and most of the bones are in the lower hard clay deposit. Most of the bones fracture when exposed to air so glue may be necessary to keep them together during extraction. I use two Paleobond products : PB4417 which is a field consolidant and comes off easily during prep but does not have structural strength. PB002 is used when I need strength on larger bones. I also carry a debonder just in case I glue my fingers together or as in this trip a fellow collector glued his glove to his hand. Glue can be dangerous since it cures quickly. Its more a safety issue but sometimes needed on bones/teeth in the field. I found this product "Golden West Super Solvent" used in the prep lab of the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Its effective has acetone but had no odor or effects on the skin and is not flammable or volatile. Its more costly than acetone but for the amount I use it works and no smell. In addition to showing everyone what I found I would also like to share the process of extracting some of the bones. Very few get to collect in this formation so it might be interesting to see the process and how hard it is to get from the Dirt to the Finished product.
  11. 22 likes
    Updated 11/7/17 Although a lot of this has already been posted on a number of topics, I thought consolidation it might prove useful with some additional information. If you're planning to purchase theropod teeth from Morocco's Kem Kem Beds or already have some in your collection check this out. Moroccan theropods are poorly understood and not a lot has been published. Very few articulated skeletons have been found and most are partial and without a skull. There is also lots of mis-information, mostly unintentional, from some dealers but especially online auction sites. Unfortunately these are the most misidentified commercially sold dinosaur fossil around. Please post your interest here on the forum before you buy. Background: The Kem Kem Beds also known as the ‘‘Continental Intercalaire’’ or "Continental Red Beds" is composed of three formations: Akrabou, Aoufous and Ifezouane Formation. The latter two are the dinosaur producing sediments with the Ifezouane being the principal one. They are Cenomanian in age. The attached drawing gives a representation how they lay. The distribution of the different groups of fossils in the Ifezouane Formation can been see in the pie chart below. Dinosaurs make up a small percentage of what is collected. So first lets identify what is known to the best of my knowledge. Theropods that have been described across North Africa (focus on large bodied theropods) Theropods that have been described in Kem Kem: (family) Spinosaurus aegyptiacus * (Spinosaurid) *Some paleontologist believe this species is unique to Egypt and Kem Kem material should be identified as Spinosauid indet. Lots of questions exist over Ibrahim (2014) diagnosis which validated this species. Carcharodontosaurus saharicus (Carcharodontosaurid) Deltadromeus agilis (Neovenatorid) Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis (Spinosaurid) Sauroniops pachytholus (Carcharodontosaurid) Theropods that have not been described from the Kem Kem but isolated teeth exist and have been reflected in scientific papers: Dromaeosaurid sp.? Hendrickx suggested these are actually Noasaurid indet. Abelisaurid indet. Theropod teeth that are sold commercially but no scientific evidence yet to link them to the Kem Kem: Abelisaurus sp. (Not described from North Africa) Rugops sp. (Only described from Niger) Bahariasaurus sp. (Only described from Egypt) Elaphrosaurus sp. (From Jurassic of Tanzania) So what is being sold and what are the issues? Spinosaurid Teeth are well understood by both collector and dealers, see photo. Issues are typically associated with restoration and compositing a larger tooth from multiple teeth. Teeth with matrix attached to them are suspect for restoration so be careful. At least two species of Spinosaurids exits and it's currently impossible to determine if they are Spinosaurus or Sigilmassasaurus or Undescribed taxon. Conflicting taxonomic hypotheses have been proposed. Ibrahim at al (2014) suggest that all specimens found belong to Spinosaurus aegyptiacus. Evers et al (2015) regard Spinosaurus maroccanus and Sigiilmassaurus brevicollis as belonging to the same taxon Sigiilmassaurus brevicollis which is also supported by Hendrickx et al (2016). Ever at al (2015) also described additional specimens from a second unnamed Spinosaurid. Bottom line we do not have enough specimens to eliminate ontogenetic or sexual dimorphism differences and accurately describe Spinosaurids in the Kem Kem. So these teeth are best identified as: Spinosaurid indet. Carcharodontosaurid Teeth, those that are compressed and blade like, first photo. Wrinkles by the distal carina are diagnostic to this species. Mesial teeth are fat, slender and look very different (D shaped) (next three photos). Two species currently are described Carcharodontosaurus saharicus and Sauroniops pachytholus and its impossible to differentiate teeth between these taxons. Similiar to the Spinosaurid debate one exists with these two species and if Sauroniops is valid. Similiar to Spinosaurids the big issue is having enough specimens to make a proper determination in what exists.. For these reasons best identified as : Carcharodontosaurid indet. Theropod indet. There are also intermediate size teeth (1 1/2") that are being sold as Deltadromeus or another theropod. I believe these could be Deltadromeus teeth but until we see scientific evidence this morphology of tooth should be identified as Theropod indet. No skull was found with the holotype or in any other discoveries so we do not know what look like. Carcharodontosaurid serrations Theropod indet. Dromaeosaurid: Teeth being sold as Dromaeosaurus are most likely misidentified, so here is what to look for. There are a few morphologies floating around but nothing as been formally described. Teeth are typically small around 1/2" (1.2cm) to over 1" (2.5cm) One morphology of these teeth are suggested by Hendrickx to be from a Noasaurid dinosaur. Although you see many sellers using the word Raptor next to what they are offering it's unknown if there is a true raptor in the Kem Kem. Abelisaurids are not raptors This figure identifies a study of isolated teeth by Richter (2015) and identifies two morphologies (A to D) and (E to G) as Dromaeosaurid. Mesial and distal carinae show a distinct density difference in serrations. The tip of the tooth extends past the base. On morph E/F a faint but visible constriction between crown and root is visible. The later form suggested by some paleontologists is most similiar to troodontids. Morph variant 3 that I have in my collection but not seen in any papers Mesial and distal carinae range show a distinct difference. A distinct twist to the mesial carina. Abelisaurid indet. With new discoveries we can put a real species name to these teeth but currently they are indet. These are easily identifiable but can easily be misidentified with certain morphologies of Dromaeosaurid teeth. The teeth are very compressed, the cross-section is oval at the base, the mesial side is strongly curved and the distal side is almost straight to the base of the tooth, see red lines in the photo. Mesial and distal carinae range from only a slight to a distinct difference. The only morphological feature that discriminates a tooth of a dromaeosaurid from that of an abelisaurid is the unique mesial and distal curvature profile of the abelisaurid crown. These teeth could belong to Rugops since it's an Abelisaurid but we have no scientific information to support that claim. Premaxillary Bottom Line: There are NO theropod teeth in the Kem Kem Beds that you can currently definitively assign to a Genus to, no less a Species.
  12. 22 likes
    We all would like a Free Lunch or a FREE accessory or FREE samples. What is difficult in identifying fossils found for Free identification on the Fossil Forum presents a bit of a problem. A general lack of important information and associations: 1- LOCATION needs to be more specific. Not the GPS location to keep your location private, but a general area. Utah as a location is too general. Western Utah, better. Millard County, Utah gets it within 800 square miles. 2- GEOLOGY narrows down the possibilities. Cambrian to Pleistocene. You think you found a trilobite in the Cretaceous of Western Kansas. Impossible, as trilobites were extinct after the Permian. By knowing the geological age can be an easy bit of information to start. A Triassic trilobite WOULD be a find for the record books and it would be named after yourself! 3- FORMATION is even more information to narrow down the possibilities. Same as #2. 4- ASSEMBLAGE of fossils also found at this location. This would narrow down the biology. Ocean, brackish water, fresh water, terrestrial, pond, lake... etc. 5- DISCOVERY of specimen. Was it loose? Was it in a gravel bed. Was it washing out of limestone, shale, chalk...etc? Are there others like this specimen? Are they all fragmentary (shallow water and wave action would break up specimens prior to preservation). 6- CHARACTERISTICS that make you think it is a... whatever. Does the specimen have pores in a broken section resembling bone? Appear like a shell of a smooth clam or mollusk, coarse ribbed brachiopod shell, segmented like a cephalopod, nautiloid, crinoid stem section... experience will help over time! Details are important. Size is important. Be observant and then describe. Why did you pick this specimen up? Was it unique or out of place? ******* My experience in a steep learning curve. We ALL share these! ******* #1 Dr. Mark Jewett of the Kansas Geological Survey gave me my first lesson my thinking something was... which it was NOT. I found a complete fossil turtle shell in the Pennsylvanian of Kansas City, Missouri. Not far from the Chiefs Football Stadium while it was being built south of I-70. I sent a letter to Dr. Jewett and where I had found it. Not a turtle. Why? Because of the location and the rock formation being Pennsylvanian... NO turtles existed. It was a flattened Septarian Concretion. A cracked mud ball with calcite filings looking like a turtle shell. My description was accurate. The geological age I gave was correct. It was my interpretation that was wrong. I learned something that day! I hope this helps you as well. #2 I was collecting fossil reptile, shark teeth and fish bone in western Kansas. I found a slab of Cretaceous, Niobrara Formation chalk with a "trilobite". It was segmented and had a front and a back end. It was about 5/8 inch long and 1/4 inch wide. Light colored shell. The front nor back could be distinguished as either end looked the same. Because it was bound in the Cretaceous...it could not be a trilobite as they were already extinct. It was equivalent to what would be a common barnacle (chiton is probably closer to the identification). I was 16 years old on the "turtle and trilobite" find. I cannot recall what the identification of the Cretaceous find was as it was so long ago... but by providing the geology, location and my sketch of the fossil at hand... it was identified by a paleontologist that knew immediately. #3 I was visiting with my family some friends at Fort Riley, Kansas at the age of 15. There is in an area of Permian limestones on the Army base. We adventurous ones went exploring in a rugged rocky area that was heavily wooded. While climbing around looking for fossils I found a footprint impression. The "footprint" was into a layer that was a slightly different layer on the massive limestone wall. If you can imagine a "chicken foot" pressed deeply into this Marly Limey layer was a well made impression and about 3 inches long and the depth of your small "pinky" finger. The three toes up front and one in the back... I took a larger rock and broke this section off and took it home. To this day I wish I had checked on this find further. From what I recall from that impression it is clear to me, 49 years later... this WAS a footprint. Somehow I sold it or traded it right away and never could go any further in knowing if this WAS or WAS NOT. This I regret not following through, but at 15 years old... and a detail orientated teenager when it came to fossils... I still wonder. This could have been a remarkable find... a real possibility. PLEASE TAKE A GOOD PHOTOGRAPH(s), offer as much information as possible and hang on to it until you are comfortable that the mystery specimen is actually something unknown! Science progresses in small steps and some of these steps are MISSING. You could have found that missing step by accident. Offer your find up to fellow Forum members. It might be a routine specimen or not...
  13. 21 likes
    Posted here are some very nice fossils for collectors just be aware that the descriptions might not be as advertised. Seller calls this a Pterosaur claw, I'm not sure what it belongs to but nothing is published to support his claim Seller list this as a superb Spinosaurus phalanx toe bone. Looks more like a hand bone, carpal or metacarpal. Also we do not know if it comes from the species Spinosaurus better described as Spinosaurid indet. Seller is describing this as a Spinosaurus caudal vertebra. Spino caudal vertebrae are typically more box shaped so I doubt it's from one. Not certain what's it's from. Seller is offering a very nice upper and lower jaw bone from the Pterosaur Alanqa saharica. I question if these are associated and if either are lowers jaw sections.. Ibrahim's reconstructed jaw shows the mandible as being much thinner than the upper and more like the offering. I also will add that isolated upper jaws may be hard to identify to a specific species and are better described as Azhdarchoid indet. since along with Alanqa the new species Xericeps may have similar uppers but it's currently unknown. Seller is offering this pair of bones as a Spinosaurus Phalanx bone and Claw. Unfortunately the phalanx is a hand bone, carpal and not associated with the claw. The claw may belong to one of the Spinosaurid's but without a ventral view it's uncertain its one. Offering for a large toe bone from a Spinosaurus. Looks more like a Carpal from an unknown Spinosaurid. Offering big money for this Spinosaurus complete foot. Unfortunately there are many things wrong with this foot. Most of the phalanx don't fit their positions and may not be Spinosaurid. The claws are undersized for the foot and cannot determine if they belong to a Spinosaurid with the photos that are provided. A foot should look like this Remind buyers that all teeth offered as Spinosaurus may not belong to that species but one of the other Spinosaurids that may be present in that fauna either currently described or yet to be identified
  14. 20 likes
    I wanted to wait for my "Shop" to be completely done before showing it here. Due to the fact that my oldest child will be graduating high school next month, and my shop will soon be turned in to a graduation party area I have decided to go ahead and show it unfinished. I have always loved science museums, so I decided to just make my own in my own yard. Last summer I put up a 30X50 "pole barn", put in a wood floor and walls, and now I have my own museum. Almost everything in here was collected by myself or my family. This collection is 90% Kansas stuff, but the last photo of the rikers and the glass case is what I call my "exotic" section. All of the stuff there is from other states that I either found myself, or with the aid of fellow Fossil Forum members. (A bunch of my Texas stuff is from the Waco trip that a lot of members went on many years ago.) There is also a prep room with a window (just like all the cool museums) in the corner. Its already a mess, but I hope to keep the mess confined to that area! I still have some work to do, and I doubt it will ever be completely done, but if any of you ever find yourself driving across Kansas I'm only about 20 minutes off of I-70, and if I'm home, you are welcome to stop by. I may even point you to a spot or two where you can find some of your own fossils around here.
  15. 20 likes
    Hey guys, I figured this would help out quite a few people here. I've written a guide for taking useful notes in the field. Please read and consider these suggestions! http://coastalpaleo.blogspot.com/2015/10/paleontological-research-tips-i-field.html Bobby
  16. 20 likes
    I decided to do a little experiment yesterday after reading a little about photogrammetry and how it's being used in archaeology for 3D scanning sites. The idea of digitizing fossils in 3D is very, very cool to me. I decided to do a little more research on it and possibly give it a try. For this experiment: All software was completely free. I didn't use an expensive camera....In fact, I used my smartphone to take all the photos. Image size was only 1000x1000px and quality wasn't that great (it's a phone) I didn't have a good light setup. I used the flash on my phone. I had no experience with any of this prior to this experiment. For the subject, I used a whale vert that has some odd preservation. It seems like it was crushed a little during fossilization. The whole thing is off center and cracked in a lot of places. I thought it would be a good fossil to play around with for this. So, I took 46 photos at different angles all around the fossil, making sure to keep the distance the same and tried my best to keep my phone's camera in focus. There were two main steps after the photos were taken. 1. Create a point cloud that could be put into a program and used to make a 3D model from the 46 2D photographs 2. Use the same 46 images to create a texture to apply to the new 3D model. Thankfully, both steps were much easier than I expected them to be thanks to some software created as research projects by different students in a few different universities. I'm happy with the results considering it was done with free software and a cell phone. I could have used higher resolution photos and it probably would have looked nicer, but I didn't for this first test. I plan on messing around with this sort of thing more. There's tons of filters and options in the different programs that I haven't tested to see what they would do...and I haven't even tried a real camera with better lighting yet. I'm guessing that a good camera in direct sunlight would make a huge difference. A couple of things on the model didn't come out right, but that was probably just because I didn't get enough photos from different angles in certain places. Also, the bottom of the vert where it was sitting on the table obviously didn't get photographed, so it's just black. I'm sure you could flip the thing over, do the whole thing again and then put it all together, but that would require a lot more experience with these programs. If anybody is interested in playing around with this themselves, I can post the programs used..or I could write out a tutorial. When some even better software comes out, I can see this becoming a pretty common thing. Imagine a "gallery" full of 3D fossil scans! Whale Vertebra 4½" Tall Miocene Hawthorn Fm. Alachua County, FL Here's an additional two-part scan done using this method and a DSLR camera with more photographs: Titanis walleri Phalanx Pleistocene Gilchrist County, FL Beginner Tutorial The Programs & Configuration First, you need Visual SFM. (This is the program that turns the photos into a 3D point cloud) Next, you need CMVS for Windows or if you're not on Windows, go here. (This is just a few files that we put into Visual SFM that helps create our texture that gets applied to the 3D model) The last thing you'll need is Meshlab. (This is a very powerful 3D program that does all kinds of stuff. We'll be using it to turn our 3D point cloud into an actual model and apply our material to it...among a couple other things) Download Visual SFM & CMVS then extract them. Navigate to the correct folder for your computer and copy the contents of the CMVS folder. I'm on Windows 7 64 bit, so I went to the first folder I extracted, "CMVS-PMVS-master" > CMVS-PMVS-master > binariesWin-Linux > Win64-VS2010 and copied everything in there (minus the Readme.txt). Paste those files directly into the Visual SFM folder (the one with all the .dll files where the application to launch the program is) that you just extracted. Obviously, this is a one time thing. You get those files in the right place and every time you open Visual FSM to make a 3D model, it'll have CMVS right where it needs to be. Photographing When I took my photos, I placed the vert on a piece of newspaper with a lot of different colors, lines, images, etc. It's important that the software has common places of reference between different images so it can map out he point cloud accurately. Here's my vert set up ready to be photographed: Thinking about it now, it probably would have been smarter to elevate the vert slightly above the newspaper on a little block or something. I had a little trouble cropping the bright newspaper away from the vert. I took photos starting at a low angle spaced out as I slowly rotated around the fossil. I'd take a pic, move a tiny bit, take another, move a tiny bit, etc. Here's what four of my photos in sequence look like: I went in a full circle until I was sure that I had rotated around the fossil completely and even overlapped a bit, taking photos of the same angle I started with (better to have too many than too few). Then I angled the camera (well, phone in this case) at about a 45 degree angle and rotated around the fossil completely again. Those photos look like this: As you can tell, this are not great photos. I think that the model would have turned out much better looking if I took better photos in better lighting. After I completed that pass, I took one photo of the very top of the vert, facing downward. I made sure to always get a fair amount of the newspaper for tracking purposes. Then I used a great free program called Photoscape and it's batch editor to apply the same filter and crop to all the images at once. Make sure not to crop out your newspaper or whatever you're using to help with tracking. Do not use images with larger dimensions than 3200px! I read in a couple places that this would cause worse tracking and a lot of other problems. If you want to experiment with larger than that, go for it and see what happens..When I tried it, the program ran for a very long time and eventually froze my computer...but my original images were over 5000px each. Visual SFM When your photos are done, open up Visual SFM by going to the folder you extracted and clicking on the application. This is what it looks like: I wrote out some arrows to the things you'll be using in there. #1 is Open Multiple Images. Just click that, navigate to your images and upload them. You'll see the log window to the right doing some stuff....You should see your image thumbnails in the program in just a few moments. When that's done and there's no more activity in the log window, click on #2, Compute Missing Matches. This is the first thing that some computers could have trouble with. This one can take a little while depending on how many images you have and how large they are. When this is done and there's no more activity in the log window, we can get to the cool stuff. Click on #3, Compute 3D Reconstruction. This part is seriously amazing. It takes all of your images and automatically calculates where you were in relation to the object when you took the photo. Then it shows all the places an image was taken and it displays the point cloud in the center. It looks like this: The squares are everywhere I took a photo...You can see that I did a circle around the fossil down low and then a very sloppy "circle" above it. In the center, you'll see your sparse point cloud. If you want to make the little image icons bigger or smaller, it's ctrl + mouse wheel, if you want to change the size of the point cloud points, it's ctrl + alt. Time for the next step. When you clicked on button #3 and got your point cloud, a couple new buttons showed up. This is the one you need: #4 is Run Dense Reconstruction. When you click this, it's going to act like you're saving something. What you're doing is giving the software a directory to dump the files it's going to create. Make a new folder, give the file some name and click save. When you click save, look at the log window (if it's gone, the show/hide button for it is at the top, far left) and look for this: If you see the highlighted part, it means you correctly moved over the files from the CMVS folder you downloaded into the Visual SFM folder. It'll tell you that "this could take quite some time" and it definitely does. For my project (46 images at about 1.2MB each - 1000x1000px) it took 5 - 10 minutes, but before I resized those photos they were over 5000px each and this step ran for nearly an hour before my computer finally froze. Like I mentioned above in the photography part, I read in a few places that your images should be below 3200px on the longest side. You might want to think about closing down other programs that use up a lot of memory while you run this unless your computer has a lot of memory to spare. I closed out my browser and a bunch of other stuff just in case. When the log window says this is done, you should be able to hit Tab on your keyboard and see your dense point cloud....again, you can mess with the size of the points with ctrl + mouse wheel. This is still just a point cloud even though you'll start to see some color and image coming through. There's no need to save anything after this step is done. The program automatically wrote everything you need into the new folder that you created. And that's it for Visual SFM! Meshlab Go ahead and install Meshlab if you haven't already. It can look a little overwhelming at first, but we'll only be doing a couple pretty basic things. This is what Meshlab looks like: Go up to File and click Open Project (or the second button from the left, #1 in the photo above). Remember the folder you had to create when doing the last step (the dense point cloud) in Visual SFM? Navigate to that folder and you'll see a .nvm folder with the name. Open that file. It'll take a few moments to open. When it does, you'll see your point cloud open up into the program (upside down). Now is a good time to try to learn how to navigate around the viewport. The mouse wheel zooms in and out. Holding the left mouse button and moving the mouse rotates around the center. Holding the mouse scroll wheel and moving the mouse will pan the point cloud (or later, the mesh) around. I usually center it in the middle of the center rotation widget. Holding Alt and scrolling the mouse wheel will change the size of your point cloud points....You may need to do that to make them easier to see since we need to delete some soon. All this might take a little getting used to, but if you're patient you'll get the hang of it. Next, click on Show Layer Dialog, the #2 button in the image above. You'll see the little window on the right pop up. If you're at all familiar with photo editing, this layer window should be pretty familiar to you. Now we need to get our cameras showing up. Go to Render (#3) > Show Camera (#4). From there, go over to drop down arrow next to Show Camera on your side window below your layers (#5) and click it. Check on the Scale Factor here and make sure it's set to something like 0.04 or smaller depending on what you want. When I first did this, the camera scale factor was very high when I first clicked on Show Camera and it made it so I couldn't see my point cloud anymore. Time for bringing in our dense point cloud. First, click the little eye next to your layer in the side bar (#6) and you'll see your point cloud disappear. Next, go to File > Import Mesh (#7) and navigate to the same folder you created in Visual SFM where your .nvm file was. You'll see in the same folder a .ply file with the same name. Click that and import it. Reposition the mesh in the center and zoom in. Under Show Camera on the side bar, you may want to uncheck Show Raster Cameras so they don't get in your way for this next step. We're going to be selecting and deleting the stuff that we don't want in our finished model. Position your model carefully and click the Select Vertexes (#8) button. You can then click with the mouse and drag a rectangular selection around the stuff you don't want (#9). Be careful NOT to delete any of the actual model, only the surrounding stuff that was used for tracking (the newspaper in my case) and any random artifacts that might be hovering above or around the model. This isn't difficult, but it can be a little time consuming. This is why I recommended above that you elevate your fossil on a little block or something. Then you could just change to a side view and delete all the newspaper at once, cutting the block in half. When you drag the box around the stuff you don't want, that stuff will turn red meaning it's selected (see #9). When you have the right stuff selected, click #10, which is a Delete Vertices button. The area selected is gone now. Repeat 8, 9 and 10 changing angles carefully to get rid of everything that you need gone. Sometimes the wrong layer gets automatically selected (the invisible one) and when you hit the delete button, it won't do anything. Just click the layer ending in .0.ply if the top one gets selected and keep going. Don't hit the delete button if even a tiny piece of the model is selected...There's no undo button that I've seen, so if you make that mistake, you may have to go back to step 7 and import the mesh again. Here's another angle I used: Remember that you can hold Alt and scroll the mouse wheel to make the points bigger and smaller. If they're too small, you'll have trouble seeing what to delete and what not to. Next, go to Filters > Point Set > Surface Reconstruction: Poisson (#11) here: Then change the settings in the box that pops up to 12, 7, 1, 1 (or experiment a little, but that's what I used) like this: When that's done, hit apply and let it run. What comes out is a 3D model of your fossil! It's just missing the texture right now, but it's still very cool looking. Click the little eye on the layer that ends with .0.ply to hide it. It'll look something like this: Next, we need to go to go to Filters > Selection > Select Non Manifold Edges (#12), making sure the right layer is selected like so: A box will pop up. Just hit apply, then click the Delete Vertices (#13) button. This is just a preventative measure, you shouldn't notice much happening when you click delete. We're getting close! Just one last step and you'll have a fully textured 3D model. Go to Filters > Texture > Parameterization + texturing from registered rasters (#14). A box will pop up. I doubled the size of the texture and left everything else default. The default is 1024, I changed that to 2048. Go ahead and name your texture whatever you want. This step is taking all those images we took and making a single image file that has all angles on it. Hit apply. And there you go! A fully textured 3D model of a fossil from nothing but images: You can go ahead and export your model now. Click File > Export Mesh, give it a name, select the file type drop down here: I made sure to save in a couple different file formats. I saved in .obj and .dae. When you go to upload the 3D model somewhere, all you have to do is upload one of these files and then find your texture image that you created on step (#14) to apply to it. Keep in mind that this technique is not limited to small objects. You can map out environments in 3D too. Archaeologists use this technique (usually with high tech equipment) to take 3D models of archaeological dig sites. This technique can also be used for very detailed topographic mapping if you had a way of taking aerial pics. I'd love to see if anybody gives this thing a shot. If you try it and have trouble, let me know...I'm still very much a newbie at all this, but I'll do whatever I can to help figure it out. I'll post more in this thread as I make more 3D fossils. If anybody gives this a shot, have fun! It's definitely a learning experience. -Cris
  17. 19 likes
    Many forum members are familiar with Cookiecutter Creek in South Florida. This is a small creek that well-known forum member Jeff @jcbshark was kind enough to share with me a little over 3 years ago. Jeff had posted photos of the tiny Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius triangulus) teeth that he had found picking through micro-matrix from this creek and that started my quest to obtain a tooth from this very unusual little shark. After picking through many gallons of micro-matrix from the Peace River and some of its feeder creeks without once laying eyes upon a single Isistius tooth (but finding tons of other micro fossils), Jeff informed me that he didn't think Cookiecutters could be found anywhere other than one special little creek and agreed to take me and Tammy to collect some micro-matrix there in mid-December 2014. It didn't take long for me to find my first complete Isistius. Several more soon followed including some from the positionally rare symphyseal spot in the middle of the lower jaw. It is possible to identify a symphyseal as the thinner area where each tooth overlaps the adjoining tooth is usually found with one overlap area seen on the inner and one on the outer surface of each tooth but not symphyseals. Since these teeth overlap BOTH the tooth to the left and right (like the top row of shingles on the ridge of a roof) the overlap marks are both found on the inner (lingual) surface of the tooth and no marks are found on the outer (labial) surface. Once you know how the teeth of the lower jaw overlap and how to identify the outer (labial) side of the tooth (the enamel does not stop at a well defined line but extends down from the triangular crown and onto the square root), you can also tell which side of the jaw (left or right) that the tooth came from. Aside from the symphyseal position most of the other teeth cannot be identified to position other than the last one or two posterior positions. These teeth have the crown angled with respect to the root. Here are some of my old posts showing Cookiecutter Creek and the micro-fossils that have come from this unique locality in Florida: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/51286-collecting-cookiecutter-shark-micro-matrix/ http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/55298-more-micros-from-the-peace-river-and-cookiecutter-creek/ http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/71406-optimizing-micro-matrix-sorting/ Recently, I've been working on a project with a PhD student from the University of Florida which was initiated when it was realized that the Isistius triangulus teeth that I donated to the FLMNH were not yet recognized as occurring in Florida. Additional research revealed that specimens of Squatina (Angelshark) teeth from this creek were also not known from Florida (though I've also found this genus in micro-matrix from the Peace River). I made another collection of micro-matrix from Cookiecutter Creek as I had exhausted my supplies. A couple of flat-rate boxes of this material made their way into the hands of a couple of forum members--who I hope are having fun with this unique micro-matrix. Tony @ynot had sent me photos of another interesting find from Cookiecutter Creek. Jeff had collected some additional micro-matrix on the day that he introduced me to this site. Some of that collection was later made available to Tony as an auction to benefit the forum. While looking through this micro-matrix, Tony discovered a small specimen of what appears to be a Catshark (Scyliorhinidae) tooth. Tony is graciously sending that tooth to me so that I can pass it along to be added to the collection at the Florida Museum of Natural History (FLMNH) as this is the first record of this shark family in the Florida fossil record (and another first for Cookiecutter Creek). Tony's photo if this micro beauty: Since learning of the possibility of this taxon being found in the micro-matrix of Cookiecutter Creek, I've been searching through my remaining stash from this locality hoping to find a second Catshark tooth (no luck yet). While I've (so far) struck out in duplicating Tony's amazing find, I did have a bit of luck last week with something else new from my searching. While picking through the micro-matrix I came across an elongated item just about 10mm in length. If I'd not been familiar with this type of highly unusual shark tooth before I might have passed it by thinking it was just some unidentifiable fragment of bone. Experience and knowledge (even just a small amount) allowed me to recognize this as a tooth type that is reasonable common in another type of wonderful micro-matrix--Shark Tooth Hill (Bakersfield, CA). The unusual tooth from Cookiecutter Creek is actually quite common in STH micro-matrix. It comes from a Horn Shark (Heterodontidae). Since there is currently only a single genus described for this small family of small sharks, it can actually be identified down to the genus Heterodontus. These are placid little sharks that I remember seeing resting on the bottom during the few dives I did among the kelp forests in southern California's Channel Islands. They have distinctive ridges over the eyes and a single spike at the leading edge of their two dorsal fins. They feed mainly on hard-shelled invertebrates (crustaceans, molluscs, and echinoderms). Their name "Heterodontus" derives from the Greek meaning "different teeth" and referring to the fact that the front teeth are pointy with larger central cusp flanked by a smaller cusp on either side. The back teeth elongated with a long ridge running the length of the tooth and are adapted to crushing the hard shells of their prey items. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horn_shark Currently, most members of this family are found in the Indo-Pacific--like the well-known Port Jackson Shark (Heterodontus portusjacksoni) and only the Californian Horn Shark (Heterodontus francisci), the Galapagos Bullhead Shark (Heterodontus quoyi), and the Mexican Hornshark (Heterodontus mexicanus) are found in the eastern Pacific off the west coasts of North and South America. It's difficult to make any firm conclusions from the scant images available online but the rear teeth of the Mexican species to have a reasonable resemblance to the specimen that turned up in Cookiecutter Creek. Today, there are no species from this family inhabiting the Atlantic (or the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico regions). Devoid of any factual information but attempting a modestly educated guess, I'm thinking that one of the species of Bullhead Sharks must have extended over into the waters surrounding Florida some time before the Isthmus of Panama formed some 2.8 mya separating the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and separating the fauna on either side to either develop into distinct species (or to go extinct regionally). Since this family is not currently known from the Atlantic (eastern or western extents) it seems more reasonable to assume that the Florida specimen derived from an eastern Pacific species given the (geologically) recent connection to those waters. Fun to speculate and if Marco Sr @MarcoSr has jaw samples of extant eastern Pacific members of this family, perhaps a better comparison to the anterior teeth might be possible. Both this tiny Heterodontus tooth and Tony's find of the Scyliorhinidae will soon be headed toward Gainesville. I'm hoping to get up to volunteer at Montbrook in the next couple of weeks and plan on dropping off a few donations to expand the museum's diversity of shark teeth from Florida. Cookiecutter Creek is a special little creek and is best known for its relative abundance of Isistius triangulus teeth. The more we investigate this locality and the more micro-matrix we pick through from there the more unusual taxa seem to turn up. Seeing a perfect little Cookiecutter tooth appear from the micro-matrix is always a thrill but this creek is no longer a one-trick pony. It seems to have hidden depths (for a creek that is only knee high ) and I'm looking forward to seeing what else might appear out of the gravel in the future. Cheers. -Ken
  18. 19 likes
    Not all rocks that look like poop have a fecal origin. Here are a few things to consider when trying to determine whether or not you have a coprolite: 1. Location, Location, Location – If you haven’t guessed, the first and most important thing to consider is the location your rock was found. Don’t expect to find a coprolite unless you find it in geologic area/layer where other fossils are found. If you find things like bones, teeth and fish scales, or prehistoric tracks, you may just be in in luck. 2. Shape – While fecal matter can be rather free-form when exposed to the elements or when digestion issues arise, most coprolites are shaped like poo. As with modern extrusions, fossilized feces can be shaped like pellets, spirals, scrolls, logs, piles, etc. Their shape is dependent on shape of their producers intestinal and anal structure. Look for things like compaction folds and pinch marks. 3. Texture - Most coprolites are fine grained. If your specimen appears granular under magnification, it is most likely not a coprolite. There are some exceptions, such as marine creatures that feed on bottom sediments or coral. That is why knowing the location and geology of the area where it was discovered is so important. 4. Inclusions – Many times, coprolites will have visible inclusions. Things like fish scales, bone fragments, and teeth may not get fully digested, and can be visible on the surface. Some animals ingest stones for ballast or digestive purposes. These are known as gastroliths, and if present, are generally smooth. 5. Composition – Because herbivore scat tends to break a part and decompose rapidly, it rarely survives the fossilization process. So most fossil poo that is found is from carnivores. The reason for this is that their poo is usually high in calcium phosphate, the same mineral found in bone. This mineral can appear in many forms. It can be hard and dense or soft and porous. If the potential coprolite appears soft and porous, there is a quick test that is often used in the field. If you touch to stone to the tip of your tongue and it sticks, chances are, it is high in calcium phosphate and could be a coprolite. If you are not that brave, you can also touch it with wet fingers to see if it feels sticky, but this is not nearly as fun. If the calcium phosphate takes a harder, more dense form, the “lick test” won’t work. In some instances, chemical analysis is required to definitively identify the mineral composition.
  19. 19 likes
    In a large number of instances, the Admins and Mods make every effort to remove posts that encourage, or are complicit with, illegal collecting practices. It is our view that we do not condone such practices, and discourage others from flouting the laws. We do try to keep on top it, but sometimes it is not always clear that illegal collecting has occurred. There are a number of posts where questions of legality have come up, particularly around the issue of not knowing the laws, to which we provide the usual refrain: "it is the responsibility of the collector to avail her or himself of the laws of the land, and abide by them; ignorance is no defence and the consequences of getting caught far outweigh any apparent benefits of finding an interesting fossil." At other times, questions of legality are focused on the more abstract discussions on the practicality of laws. This is no way condones breaking laws, but in questioning the value of those laws or alerting other members to changes to those laws. In at least one case I can recall, there was discussion about the "ethics" of collecting with reference to public input on a proposed change to collecting laws. Debates in the abstract can be generative along the lines you suggest, with one side making a good case for protecting the fossil heritage for experts, while the other side can point to the disservice to science in allowing potential specimens to erode into nothingness. To my mind, it isn't a debate anyone can win, for paleontology also owes a strong debt in its partnership with dedicated amateur collectors (some of whom are featured in our Paleo Partners thread ). Laws and regulations do change over time, and sometimes with more knowledge, public pressure, awareness, or combinations of all three. But, as they say, the wheels of justice grind finely and slowly. That being said, breaking the law is not the appropriate route by which to change the law. It is for that reason that it is pretty much our policy here not to encourage, condone, or promote illegal activity of any kind.
  20. 19 likes
    A couple of Metacarpals were found. The extraction process is the same has with the larger bones but do not requiring jacketing. Foil is sufficient. Carpal 1 Carpal 2 Did not glue sections easier to prep since there is no glue. Teeth: T rex 2 inch rooted tooth was found missing tip. Don't think it was there but did collect a bucket of matrix and will keep my fingers crossed. Fragments of other teeth plus the rooted one Nanotyrannus largest 1 1/4" Paronychodon - largest 1" Acheroraptor - largest 1/2" Theropod indet - largest 3/4" Croc teeth and scutes - largest scute 1" Hadro Teeth - largest 1" Fish vertebrae - mostly gar - 3/8" Trike spitters Now the fun part begins hours and hours prepping everything to make them look presentable and like something you see for sale or in the museum
  21. 18 likes
    Hi all. eBay is generally a good website for us to get fossil specimens as long as we do the proper research, and seek out reputable sellers. However, certain fossils pop up every now and then that are obvious fakes, and not every buyer is diligent enough to know so. What we can do is to report these listings. Believe it or not, sometimes they do get taken down. To begin, say you notice a fossil you know is fake. Click on Report Item on the top right, it's above the eBay item number. eBay takes you to another screen: Choose Listing practices > Fraudulent listing activities > You suspect that a listing is fraudulent Hit Continue, and you'll be given an item number. Hit 'Send Report'. You do not need to be a bidder to make this report. You'll know the report is made when you're taken to this new screen: Ultimately, the best practice if you shop on eBay is to do your due research. Ask the experts here; they are more than willing to point out when a fossil is fake. I've personally saved thousands just by helpful advice here. Also, if you notice any fake fossils, do us a favor as well by posting about it here, but do not mention the seller's name or identity; we are here to learn, not conduct a witch hunt. Good luck
  22. 18 likes
    I think that criticism of unnamed TFF members over their imagined offenses reeks of pomposity. Danthefossilman has been spending too much time with professional paleontologists . . . he's beginning to sound like one. Perhaps the tension between amateurs and professionals (and their institutions) remains more infectious than generally realized. A clue to the scope of the problem may be found in the procedings of the 1987 annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontologists. At that meeting, the vast majority of professionals voted to reject the recent recommendations of the National Research Council on regulating paleontological collecting. The NRC recommendations are a blueprint for reconciling the interests of professionals, amateurs, and even commercial collectors. For most of us, it is hard to find fault with the insights, the logic, and the compromises recommended by the NRC panel of experts; but, the SVP professionals manage to do so. The SVP has consistently lobbied for the most restrictive laws and regulations. What motivates vertebrate paleontologists (and their institutions) to reject compromise, to want it all their way? Their argument is well known: "There is a Sacred Duty to collect, curate, and interpret the limited vertebrate fossils resources in order to add to the pool of human knowledge." Whether or not they believe in the Sacred Duty concept, some professionals (and institutions) seem to find it a convenient rationale for exploiting amateurs. In the professionals' view, amateurs are usually a necessary evil, sometimes a curse, rarely an asset; amateurs and commercial collectors are the competition! The reality is that professional careers are built on acquiring significant fossil material. Significant material means institutional prestige. It also leads to publishable research; publication leads to a better job, tenure, grant money, status among peers, travel, and other good things. Getting significant fossils can mean the difference between being curator at a prestigious museum or teaching earth science at a community college. Considering the importance of significant fossils to the professional, it is understandable that he may perceive amateurs as unreliable and undesirable competition. In this light, it becomes clear just how useful to an ambitious professional the "Sacred Duty" rationale can be: it is at once the moral high ground AND an excuse for actions which would be unthinkable in another context. Holding this self-erected moral high ground and driven by ideology or career ambition, perspective and sense of fair-play can become distorted. Fossil collectors, both amateur and commercial, may be seen as the forces of chaos and destruction which must be defeated or, at least, controlled (permits). Compromise may be viewed as a victory for evil. I think these are the notions which may cloud the judgement of professionals and their institutions. Despite the Sacred Duty demagoguery, there may still be professionals who try as best they can to deal honestly and equitably with collectors. There will always be misunderstandings and misperceptions in this arena of conflicting interests, but a totally predaceous professional probably is as rare as a collector motivated solely by greed. Collectors must seek out the cooperative professionals and institutions to share information, sites, and fossils; and they must avoid the predaceous ones! Unfortunately, the good guys are not always readily distinguishable from the bad guys in this arena. A collector should SHOP for a professional paleontologist as he would for any other professional, say like an automobile mechanic. How has he dealt with other collectors? Is he accessible? Does he perform as promised? Is he honest? An auto mechanic who does not earn a good reputation gets FEWER NEW CUSTOMERS and NO REPEAT BUSINESS. So it should be with the professional paleontologist and his institution! Collectors should apply this free-market strategy relentlessly in their dealings with professionals. When getting access to significant fossils becomes more clearly tied to reputation for fair-play, professionals will be more inclined to enter into cooperative, non-exploitive relationships with collectors. There is, after all, a duty which transcends the professionals' "Sacred Duty." That transcendent duty is usually called the Golden Rule.
  23. 18 likes
    First up, the seller of this egg stated upfront this is a replica, so this isn't a scam warning. Here, we have an oviraptor egg that could fool even experienced collectors. It looks realistic because it's made out of real oviraptor eggshells. It's even covered with a coating of matrix. This is common practice; I've seen hadrosaur eggs are faked this way, with plaster mixed in to make the egg seem round and heavy. For reference, here's a real Oviraptor (Elongatoolithus sp.) that's been professionally prepped. Oviraptor eggs are commonly faked, so four ways to get a real one is: 1) Get a prepped one, preferably with matrix removed. The eggshell should be black 2) Avoid eggs that are perfect. Real eggs have cracks, and sometimes missing entire chunks of shells. 3) Get one without a matrix base. This isn't a sure-fire method, but I've noticed many fake oviraptor eggs have matrix bases, whereas I can't say the same of those free of matrix. Perhaps the fake eggs require a matrix base for support during their construction process. 4) Price. Again, this is arguable, but the real Oviraptor eggs I've seen often comes with price tag several times that of dubious ones. Having sent some eggs for prepping in the past, this is justified because the cost and time of prepping may cost more than the actual egg. Some scammers like to lure people in with bargain prices. Chinese eggs flood the market, and for many collectors, a dinosaur egg is a must-have. There are more fakes than there are real ones, so take extra care if you seek to buy one. As always, if you're unsure, post pictures here and we will try to help.
  24. 18 likes
    I find lots of caudal vertebrae while digging. Its always good to know the anatomy of one it makes for a happier ending instead of putting your knife through the spines of one . For example: Here is a centrum that I uncovered. Knowing where the spines is the next step. The clue here seeing the attachment surface for the chevron "C" . So if that's the bottom of the vertebra the spines and on the opposite side "S" . Like all bones we dig around them and down to pedestal them and then we can easily remove them. The bone can easily stay attached to the matrix if you don't and that would be a bummer The distal spines are very fragile and often break. I collected this with the spine off and centrum in aluminum foil. No reason to attach the two in the field just makes prepping harder. Vertebra 2 same story, where are the spines? In this position you are looking directly into the centrum. The clue here is that you can see the ventral side, bottom, of the vert being flatter so the spines are in the opposite side. Extraction process is the same. Unfortunately did one did not have a distal spine attached to it, missing in action Vertebra 3 is a tiny one 1 inch across from a juvie.. Its best just left in the matrix so I harden it with glue and extract the block. Vert 4. Sometimes they just pop out like this one. Its all there with one of the spines needing to be reattached. Its a odd vert and may be pathological since the centrum is offset. Vertebra 5, Here is one 4" across missing the distal spine. Centrums are common here is an assortment of finds including finger "carpal" (lower left) and toe bone (lower right) Big vert is 4" across.
  25. 17 likes
    Just a heads up to anyone hunting the Potomac (especially) or Calvert cliffs. Stay away!!!! Do not even think about coming for at least a week and better off at 2 weeks or so if you value your life at all. Folks that know me know the area where I usually hunt and in the last 3 days here we've had 16+ inches of rain. It's been biblical. Out of curiosity (and after promising my wife I wouldn't go hunting) I peaked at the cliffs this am between storms and they are torn up as bad as I've ever seen. Hundreds of trees down with 1000+ ton land slides all over. In the 15 minutes I was there watching from a safe location I saw one giant slide and heard another. It is terrible and won't be stable enough to be safe to hunt for some time to come. Beyond that the mud will take a while to wash out. Seriously.... If you value your life stay away and don't be tempted. At my most obsessed I wouldn't have even tried it and that says a lot. Literally anyone that tried to go out today probably would have had a better than average chance of dying and a tooth isn't worth your life. I can't stress enough how bad it looks and it will take a few weeks of dry weather and some good wind to know down the loose stuff and for things to sort out anyways. Just my 2 cents but I've been doing this a while and know with so much material is down it will take months to sort out so a great summer is ahead. Don't rush it and you'll be around to enjoy it. Literally a year or two worth of erosion in 3 days. After thought.... I did hunt the small beach in front of our house some this am while playing with the kids. It almost never produces anything nice (99% small tigers, hemis, bulls, etc) as we are down stream from the formations but this am was different with the river pumping. 3 cows, 3 good makos (biggest almost 2 inches), and 3 nice hemis (biggest two right at 1.5 inches). Not a bad am for a beach where I might find 2 cows on all summer. Good luck to all. It's going to be a great summer if you stay patient and hunt safe/smart.
  26. 17 likes
    Let's talk a little about Brazil For some years now I would like to talk a little about Brazil here at TFF, and I think the best opportunity has finally come! In fact, Brazil has not only banned exports, but also banned the commercialization of fossils even within the country, and Brazilians can not collect fossils from their own country, as they can take many years in prison! And with so much banning, even world-renowned Paleontologists (I'm a big fan of this great scientist) pterosaurs experts wrongfully get arrested by mistake: http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/ciencia/2013/12/1389270-paleontologo-brasileiro-que-foi-preso-processa-governo-em-r-1-milhao.shtml And currently a new law is being created in Brazil to make it even more criminal (with more years in prison), to have Brazilian fossils in a collection, to sell or to buy! Meanwhile, trillions of tons per year of Mesosaurus tenuidens fossils are being crushed and turned into dust by Petrobrás, in Irati, Paraná, Brazil, for the exploration of oil, gas and sulfur. The Brazilian government knows that in this process trillions of tons per year of Mesosaurus tenuidens fossils are being destroyed, but even so it grants authorization! The Santana Formation is located in the state of Ceará, Brazil. It is extremely rich in pterosaurs, dinosaurs, crocodiles, fish, insects and other fossils, mainly due to the clear condition of excellent conservation. An amazing beauty! But the State of Ceará is also the poorest in the whole of Brazil, even in many regions there is not even water to drink, many months without rain and also there is nothing to eat, being a population that in these regions lives in the most complete misery; On one side, a miserable population, without food and without water, literally living on an incalculable fortune of dinosaurs, pterosaurs, fish and many other fossils that are common in that region, that is, they do not represent any novelty for science, and often to have something to eat, some even challenge hard laws to sell a small fish fossilized at US $00,25! And meanwhile, on the other side of the rope, the Federal Police of Brazil seize fossils, and arrest people on charges of: Crime of usurpation of Union good and crime of qualified reception! And meanwhile, tons of fossils that are not unpublished, but rather common and old acquaintances of science are accumulating in the holds of the Brazilian Federal Police... And meanwhile, in Brazil, sensationalist newspaper articles publish the following: "Fossils of great scientific value seized in operation of the Federal Police..."! But as incredible as it may seem, the Brazilian government authorizes the commercial exploitation of rocks from the Santana Formation to make slabs of pavements and wall coverings, where the fossils will simply spray and disappear with the passage of time between rains and sun strong; And if you are a Brazilian, you can have your fish fossilized or any other beautiful fossil spoiling with the action of the time on the floor of your house or lining the walls and walls, after all, you bought the lage, paid for it and have invoice , but if you decide to cut the rock and fondly keep this fossil inside your house to protect it, you'll be arrest in the act! In this process, mountains of fossils are destroyed... In the cities of Assistência, Ipeúna and Piracicaba, in the State of São Paulo, Brazil, the fossil of the aquatic reptile Stereosternum Tumidum Cope is very abundant: But in these quarries, billions of tons of Stereosternum Tumidum Cope fossils are exploded and milled a year to be transformed into lime, used in agriculture and cement for civil construction. And all this with authorization from the Brazilian government! And if you visit one of these quarries and try to save from destruction one of these Stereosternum Tumidum Cope skeletons, you'll be arrest by the federal police in the act! I'm forgetting something to close this post with the golden key? Oh yeah! One of the most beautiful dinosaur footprint in the world is in the city of Araraquara, in the state of São Paulo, Brazil! But the footprints are dynamited and explored to make lages for the pavement of the City and that region! And now where are these footprints that have been saved from the dynamite? On the sidewalks of the whole city and the whole region, where people step on and the action of hot sun and rain, and the very friction of people trampling over, gradually destroys what time has taken millions of years to conserve! And before I forget, the "Museum in the open" was created, the only museum in the world that you can see the footprints and jump out and trampling on them the way you want! But if you want to get one of these footprints in the quarry and take it home and keep it with affection, you go to jail in flagrante by the Federal Police of Brazil! You are only allowed to put on the sidewalk of your house and destroy the footprints trampling over them with your own feet or with the tires of your car! Unfortunately unlike many first world countries, in Brazil the people are prevented from working honestly of what the earth gives! And if you want to work you can be arrested by the police. These harsh laws about the "fossiliferous heritage" do not favor the people, who, even in a miserable state, tread and live on top of the riches they can not reach... The sale of common fossils, already known by science, could bring billions of dollars a year to the Brazilian people. Paleontologists could be hired to inspect what could leave Brazil and unpublished materials that should remain... And the current harsh laws are also not at all favorable to Brazilian Paleontology, since the Brazilian Federal Police does not have the resources to watch over the Santana Formation, which is so huge that it borders on three Brazilian states: Ceará, Piauí and Pernambuco . And with the harsh current laws, only the stone flake remain for Brazilian paleontologists, while the complete fossils of scientific interest go to private collections around the world. Like this rare skull of Pterosaur Ludodactylus sibbicki that was auctioned in Paris: I could give hundreds more examples, but I will limit myself to just giving this example of the rarest pterosaur Anhanguera santanae that was sold on our favorite auction site for 200 Thousand Dollars! And in the midst of this crossfire, as I mentioned earlier, even internationally renowned paleontologists are arrested by mistake... People can not buy, people can not sell, otherwise they can be arrested for several years by the Federal Police. Paleontologists do not have the money to carry out scientific expeditions within their own country ... The harsh laws are not protecting the fossils, they are not protecting their people and they are not protecting the Brazilian Paleontology either. I wonder who this is benefiting... If you did not know the reality of the Brazilian Warrior People and their spectacular fossils, I hope this post was informative!
  27. 17 likes
    Hi all, there are many dinosaur eggs being sold online now, especially on our favorite auction site. One of the most prominent egg dealers there is known for selling composite or fake eggs, mixed in with real eggs. We have TFF members who've fallen victim to him already. This hadrosaur egg here is a composite of real eggshells stuck onto what seems like mud/matrix, then molded into the shape of a real egg. This is what a true hadrosaur egg looks like: As you can see, there's no matrix between the eggshells. You can see lines running throughout the egg, and most importantly, the eggshells look as though they can be pried out. Dino eggs are one of the most desirable fossil in the market, but also among the most commonly faked one. Take your time, and do proper research. If unsure, post here in TFF, and we will do our best to help you identify it. Good luck. @HamptonsDoc
  28. 17 likes
    A few years ago most of the smaller theropod teeth from the Hell Creek/Lance Formations were identified based on teeth from the Campanian assemblages of North America. Over the past couple of years new discoveries have shed new light on the theropods of the end of the cretaceous and new species have been described. I have addressed these on separate topics but decided to put all of these together to get a better view of the current picture of the upper Hell Creek and Lance formations. If you see any omissions or errors feel free to let me know. Tyrannosaurs: There are two Tyrannosaurs described Tyrannosaurus rex and Nanotyrannus lancensis Teeth of these two tyrannosaurus can be distinguished between one another however there may be some positional teeth that can be difficult and mimic one another. Denticles on both on both anterior and posterior carinae can be identical in size and shape however the carinae on Rex teeth are more robust. Serration count from my examination is not important on smaller teeth. Nanotyrannus teeth typically do not exceed 2 1/2". The best way to distinguish these teeth is to look at how compressed they are and the cross section at the base of the tooth. Rex dentary teeth are oval at the base and maxillary teeth are a bit more compressed. Some maxillary teeth can appear to look like Nano so other features need to be examined like the robustness of the tip and carinae. Nanotyrannus teeth are unique as tyrannosaurd go, they are very compressed across the entire crown and their cross section at the base is rectangular. Basically Rex teeth are fat and Nano are flat. Here are examples of the cross sections at the base of a couple of Rex teeth under 1 1/2" and adult Nano's Rex (teeth are oval but can vary depending on position.) (Maxillary teeth are more rectangular) This figure represents tyrannosaurid teeth from the Judith River but is applicable to T-rex and shows the cross sectional shape at the base for different positions. Morphometry of the teeth of western North American tyrannosaurids and its applicability to quantitative classification Article (PDF Available) in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 50(4):757–776 · April 2005  Nano (teeth are rectangular) Maxillary T Rex teeth can also take this shape so one needs to consider other features. Looking at compression Rex teeth are fat with robust tips Nano teeth are flatish Aubysodon molnari is a tooth taxon known from unserrated Pre-maxillary teeth. This taxon is a "nomen dubium" dinosaur and premaxillary teeth being sold belong to one of the other two Tyrannosaurs in these assemblages. They should be labeled as "Tyrannosaurid indet" because its impossible to differentiate between species. Albertosaurus sp.is not present in these assemblages Dromaeosaurids: There are only two described Acheroraptor temertyorum and Dakotaraptor steini and Zapsalis sp. is also present. Saurornitholestes and Dromaeosaurs species are not present. Acheroraptor temertyorum Identification: Like all Dromaeosaurid teeth the denticles are key and different between those on the anterior and posterior carinae. You should easily be able to see that the posterior ones are much larger. If the denticles are identical its probably a juvenile Nanotyrannus tooth. Secondly there are apicobasal ridges on the crown which are diagnostic to this species. There can be several on either side and fewer on posterior located teeth. The teeth are recurved and typically under 1/2" (13mm) long. Dakotaraptor steini Identification: Like all Dromaeosaurid teeth the denticles are key and different between those on the anterior and posterior carinae. You should easily be able to see that the posterior ones are much larger. If the denticles are identical its probably a juvenile Nanotyrannus tooth. These teeth are larger than Acheroraptor and lack the ridges seen on the crown. The teeth are recurved and compressed and larger around 7/8" (2-2.3 cm) in the holotype. However dont dismiss smaller teeth, juvenile teeth are around. The holotype serration count per 5mm is (Distal 16-19) and Mesial (19-27) I have yet to find any of these teeth and believe they are not common. Nano teeth can mimic these its all about serrations difference. Zapsalis sp. Identification: Similar to Z. abradens from the Judith River Formation. Very compresses tooth with rounded serrations on the distal side and a smooth mesial edge. One flat tooth surface with longitudinal ridges. Troodontids: There are at least two present Stenonychosaurus sp. and Pectinodon bakkeri. but only one described Pectinodon bakkeri. Stenonychosaurus sp. is an easily recognizable tooth. Denticles strongly hooked and turned toward the tip Pectinodon bakkeri signicantly smaller 6mm or less than Stenonychosaurus teeth. Comb like denticles on posterior carina, lacking on the anterior side.. Positionally these teeth have different morphologies can been see in the photo. Reference from : Vertebrate Microfossil Assemblages by Sankey and Baszio Other Teeth: Paronychodon lacustris type teeth are flat on one side and usually bear three or more longitudinal ridges. The other side is convex and can be smooth or longitudinal ridges can be present as well. Richardoestesia gilmorei. these teeth are quite varied in shape and size and are also common. Some are straight and others are slightly recurved. Denticles are often limited to the posterior carina and individual denticles are minute. If the denticles are present on both carinae they are identical in size. The serrations should look like these (scale .2mm) Richardoestesia isoceles. Typically are very compressed, elongated and form an isosceles triangle. Fine serrations can be present This species along with the Paronychodon is currently under study and will most likely be described to a new taxon which may not be dinosaurian . Albertonykus sp. is known from bones. Its teeth are very small and pointed. Photo of tooth is from the smaller Mongolian species Mononychus olecranus Morph types isolated small theropod teeth are abundant in these assemblages. Morph types exist and determining the taxonomic affinities of these teeth is problematic. So be prepared to identify these teeth as Theropod indet. Note A lot of what I've described here requires a detailed examination of the serrations. The crisper they are on your tooth the better the opportunity you will have to identify them. having some magnification capability helps Bird: Avisaurus archibaldi This tooth is typically sold and known as A. archibaldi. Unfortunately the holotype is known only from one bone a diagnostic tarsometatarsus and NO other skeletal material has been published. So we really do not know if this morphology of tooth belong to this enantiornithine bird. Its probably best ID as Avisaurid indet.
  29. 17 likes
    Hello all, as some of us may have noticed while skulking Ebay, there has been a trend with many "specimens" of certain Chinese vertebrates being listed and sold: Turtles(Manchurochelys), Birds(Confuciusornis) and even Reptiles(Monjorosuchus). Firstly, most of us here will agree that all of these specimens are faked! Since there was a recent thread asking about the authenticity about the turtles, it is clear that many amateur collectors(myself included) are considering buying or have bought some of these "fossils" and I hope my observations in this post can help prevent you from being scammed. Last year, before Ebay was flooded, I acquired two specimens(a turtle and reptile) against my better judgement from a different Japanese auction site. One of the pieces arrived broken cleanly in two, and I was able to tell that the reptile and the turtle(by association with the same dealer) are faked. To the untrained/unfamiliar eye however, it becomes hard to distinguish as these fakes are crafted with a level of detail rarely seen before. These are not churned out from an assembly-line, but rather painstakingly hand-crafted so that every piece is more or less unique. They are usually painted grey or in some cases a shade of brown like mine. Some of these specimens are even fabricated on the same Jurassic/Cretaceous matrix with remains of real Lycoptera fish. Also, as you can see from the following photos of the broken areas, the reptile in question is sculpted from some kind of epoxy material. One of the limb bones even fell off cleanly! The details of this specimen has some resemblance to real examples of Monjorosuchus(Manchurosuchus). Not everyone will be able to tell the difference! Thanks to the advice of Scott(Piranha) on TFF, I stopped myself from acquiring a "Confuciusornis" as well and was able to claim back my money from postal insurance. I will say with 100% certainty that all these vertebrate fossils are crafted by the same process as the "Monjorosuchus" above. Edit: Here are a couple more pictures of the faked Confuciusornis, the skull looks completely iffy but everything else is very intricately crafted! More pictures of the bird here. A few last observations, I noticed that these listings on Ebay started popping up last year. At first, it was just a few turtles, but have now expanded to this so-called "Trinity" of vertebrates. It is clear that there is big money being made from this and amateur collectors need to know what is going on. There are multiple sellers taking advantage of this new cash cow(or belonging to the same syndicate) who build up their Ebay rating by selling small cheap electronics/hardware before listing these fakes in an attempt to fool you. Also bear in mind these are all private listings and it is not possible to tell if they are shill bidding on each other's items to drive prices up. Ebay used to have people moderating their fossils section for fakes, but this is not the case anymore and I doubt reporting these listings will have much impact. I urge you all to consult TFF members for advice before making any purchase if you are uncertain! I have included more photos at higher resolution at the following imgur album(warning:large size): http://imgur.com/a/076uT. I hope that any prospective buyers out there will learn from my experience. Also, if there is anyone here with more experience with these kinds of vertebrates, please share your thoughts!
  30. 17 likes
    Yes, it makes perfect sense Bob. It’s another of those “difficult to answer” questions, but I’ll have a go. The enamel “layer” of shark teeth should more properly be termed “enameloid” from a histological point of view. It actually consists of four zones: a juxta-laminar zone containing newly polymerized mineralizing fibrils (tubules); a pre-enamel zone assembled from matrix constituents; palisadal zones of mineralizing fibrils (tubules); and interpalisadal zones containing granular amorphous matrix, fine unit fibrils, and giant cross-banded fibres. Considering the layer as a collective, you could see it as mostly composed of hydroxyapatite (a form of calcium phosphate) crystals formed by secretion and nucleation onto a preformed protein matrix that consists of several hundred different proteins, of which collagens represent the largest group. The matrix accumulates on an emerging tooth at the tip and then extends over the whole crown. Soon after the matrix appears, it begins to calcify by deposition of hydroxyapatite crystallites. The proteins are easily degraded and are the first to disappear after death. Fragmented amino acid derivatives and polymerised byproducts from them might survive the fossilization process (very rarely) but not the proteins themselves. So, you could say that since the proteins have gone, then you no longer have “enamel” in the fossil. The zones will be lost at different rates (assuming they preserved in the first place) and which zone is exposed will largely determine the extent to which the surface looks "enamel-like", together with colouration effects from mineral-staining. As for the hydroxyapatite, during the early stages of fossilization, it is sometimes the case that new crystalline material grows from the original hydroxyapatite. These secondary crystals are very much larger than those that would have originally been present, but much fewer in number. They’re probably the result of the original hydroxyapatite being re-solubilized under pressure and being re-deposited in the spaces left by the decayed proteins. Typically, what you can see under the microscope is a more pronounced crystallinity than was present in the original tooth and a mixture of crystal sizes that could loosely be divided into “tiny” and “large”. Interestingly, the “in-vivo” alignment of the crystals (the long axis) often persists in the fossil. A major proportion of the hydroxyapatite is probably original material in many fossils but it’s arguable whether it should be termed “enamel” (probably not). One other interesting note is that hydroxyapatite in fossil teeth (and more especially in fossil bones) frequently has elevated levels of fluorine, which substitutes for the hydroxide groups to create fluoroapatite. The crystal size is usually unchanged in those circumstances. Quite why this happens is not well understood, but the levels are well above those that could have originally been present. There is evidence to suggest that this happens very early on in the fossilization process and may be an important step in stabilizing the mineral, such that it determines the subsequent degree of preservation of detail at a micro-level. The oft-quoted “molecule by molecule” replacement to describe the mineralization process for fossilization is 100-year old textbook stuff and a long way from what we know today about how most mineralized fossils are formed. It’s a useful simplification to help people get their minds round what happens, but no more than that.
  31. 16 likes
    It pains me to see a resurgence of Chinese scammers on Facebook, WeChat and Instagram, as business must be good. I've been scammed by them, and so have several people I know. The fossils they advertise are incredible to the point where many of us are tempted. Here, take a look at pics taken from the walls of several confirmed-scammers. Looks amazing, doesn't it? Their price are pretty awesome too, so off you go, transferring $1000 USD to their Western Union, and.... nothing. Your money is gone forever. Here are some warning signs of the Chinese scammers. I will say it again: If these Chinese sellers refuse to use Paypal, be on guard. It doesn't matter how many likes and mutual friends they share with you, scammers can make attractive accounts and add a thousand friends just to look trustworthy. Right now, there's a scammer Facebook account that shares over 100 mutual friends with me. Someone posted on his wall complaining of a scam, and the seller removed it within a day. Check the seller's track records. Ask friends and trusted collectors if any of them have ever made successful dealings with the seller. Keichousaurus does not count! I know a case where a friend bought a single cheap Keich from someone on Instagram, and the same seller then went out to scam others with far more expensive fossils after getting the seal of approval from the first guy. Also, take note not all of them admit to being from China. I know a scammer who claims to be from USA. His fossil pictures are similar to other Chinese scammers. When my friend pretended to make a purchase, this seller gave a Chinese address for Western Union, and an Alipay account pointing to a Chinese name too. For more info, please refer to this previous thread > Remember, if it's too good to be true, it probably isn't. If you have any doubts or questions, please feel free to ask others on TFF. There are many experts here who can offer you advise. If you require more info on these scammers, feel free to PM me.
  32. 16 likes
    Yesterday I signed over my prized crinoid (my avatar) along with 20 other specimens to the University of Michigan, Museum of Paleontology. With this crinoid I donated 7 other prized crinoids, 2 blastoids, 4 Tully Monsters, 2 brachiopods, 1 Mazon insect wing, 2 corals and a Cooksonia. These will then be loaned to the Museum of Natural History to go on permanent display in the new museum to open in 2019. Hardest part was parting with my avatar crinoid. It is what I consider the finest example of an Arthroacantha from the Arkona Formation at Arkona, Ontario. Not that parting with 4 exquisite Tullys wasn't hard. Hey, I offered and they came and took. I just wanted the museum to open with very nice examples of fossils.
  33. 16 likes
    So, lets figure out vertebrae from the Kem Kem beds. As many of you know the Kem Kem beds has a pretty enigmatic palaeo fauna. There is some literature about it, but not a whole lot. Some of it is behind a paywall and much information is pretty scattered. So I got this idea that maybe we could combine our knowledge and information to collectively get a better picture of which bone belongs to which animal, in this case, vertebrae. I know some of you have some fantastic specimens in your collections, if we combine these in this thread we might be able to see some patterns. We probably won't be able to put a genus or species name on each type, but perhaps assigning certain vertebrae to a morphotype might be possible. With that I encourage everyone that has any vertebrae from the Kem Kem beds to share photos of their specimens and post them here so we can use this thread as a sort of library as well as an ID thread that everyone can use to better ID their Kem Kem vertebrae. So please, share your photos! And it might help to number your specimens for easier reference. I will be updating this first post as new information arises with examples to make ID easier. Theropods Spinosaurus aegyptiacus Spinosaurus is known for it's tall neural spines, which are pretty characteristic. Unlike Sigilmassasaurus, Spinosaurus does not have the ventral triangular rough plateau on the centra Spinosaurus cervical vertebrae Spinosaurus dorsal, sacral and caudal vertebrae Sigilmassasaurus brevicollis Sigilmassasaurus is a Spinosaurid that might be closely related to Baryonyx and Suchomimus. It differs from Spinosaurus in that it has a ventral keel on many vertebrae and a triangular rough plateau on the bottom back end. A is Sigilmassasaurus, B is Baryonyx Sigilmassasaurus cervical vertebrae Sigilmassasaurus dorsal vertebrae Indeterminate Spinosaurid vertebrae Not a whole lot has been published yet, so some bones can probably not be ID'd on genus level. Spinosaurid caudal vertebrae From Paleoworld-101's collection Charcharodontosaurids Due to an old paper Sigilmassasaurus vertebrae are sometimes misidentified as Carcharodontosaurid. These vertebrae should be identified on the basis of the original description by Stromer. Carcharodontosaurid cervical vertebrae Abelisaurids Abelisaurid dorsal vertebrae From Troodon's collection Deltadromeus agilis better examples needed Sauropods Rebbachisaurus garasbae Not a whole lot is known about this titanosaur, as only a few bones have been found. Notice that the vertebrae are very extensively pneumaticised. Rebbachisaurus dorsal vertebrae Unnamed Titanosaurian mid caudal vertebra Crocodiles more examples needed Kemkemia This crocodile is only known by a single terminal caudal vertebra. Kemkemia caudal vertebra Turtles examples needed Pterosaurs Azhdarchids Azhdarchid (probably Alanqa) posterior fragment cervical vertebra Azhdarchid Mid cervical vertebra Sources Spinosaurids https://peerj.com/articles/1323/?utm_source=TrendMD&utm_campaign=PeerJ_TrendMD_1&utm_medium=TrendMD http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0144695 Sauropods Jeffrey A. Wilson & Ronan Allain (2015) Osteology of Rebbachisaurus garasbae Lavocat, 1954, a diplodocoid (Dinosauria, Sauropoda) from the early Late Cretaceous–aged Kem Kem beds of southeastern Morocco, Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 35:4, e1000701, DOI: 10.1080/02724634.2014.1000701 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/304214496_Evidence_of_a_derived_titanosaurian_Dinosauria_Sauropoda_in_the_Kem_Kem_beds_of_Morocco_with_comments_on_sauropod_paleoecology_in_the_Cretaceous_of_Africa Kemkemia sisn.pagepress.org/index.php/nhs/article/viewFile/nhs.2012.119/32 Pterosaurs https://docs.google.com/viewer?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.thefossilforum.com%2Fapplications%2Fcore%2Finterface%2Ffile%2Fattachment.php%3Fid%3D432009&fname=journal.pone.0010875.PDF&pdf=true https://riviste.unimi.it/index.php/RIPS/article/view/5967
  34. 16 likes
    Hi everyone, I've had a couple people lately asking me how I restored the megalodon tooth I posted about a couple years ago here. I decided to pick out a damaged tooth on Ebay for $15, and take you through it step by step. Here we go! What You'll Need: PaleoBond Sculp Hardener and PaleoBond Sculp Resin (You can substitute with epoxy putty but dries faster and is less malleable) X-Acto Knife Wire brush or any brush with very stiff bristles Any brand of acrylic paint from Hobby Lobby or Michaels (specific colors listed further below) A small paintbrush of reasonable quality Fine sandpaper and steel wool SITUATIONAL: Clear gloss used for acrylic paint Step 1: Examine the fossil and the damage. This is the bargain tooth I purchased. It's over 5 inches, and you can see it's actually in nice condition minus the chunk missing. The broken edge is still sharp and jagged, so it appears that the damage occurred recently as opposed to millions of years ago. To fix this tooth I will need to recreate parts of the root, bourlette and enamel. Since the tooth has fairly nice detail I will definitely need my razor blade to create fine lines and serrations. Step 2: Prepare and apply the putty Pull out a small chunk of putty from both the PaleoBond Hardener and Resin containers. Knead them together with your hands until the colors mix completely. Mix thoroughly otherwise the putty will be squishy in some places and will not harden properly. Once mixed, take a very small piece from your ball of putty and mash it into the damaged area of your tooth. Step 3: Building your shape Less is more when you're working with putty. Smaller pieces are much easier to manipulate, so build gradually piece by piece. You may get to a point where you're putty structure is not stable enough to continue building on. Take a break for 2-3 hours to let the putty dry and come back. When building the root of my example tooth, I had to take two or three breaks in order to get a foundation sturdy enough for me to continue building up. Pay attention to how your repair is taking shape and keep the edges of your putty level with the natural edges of the tooth. This is one of the most difficult parts of the repair, but it makes a big difference when you get it right. Wash your hands every once in a while to keep them from getting to tacky and sticking to your putty. Step 4: Begin to work in detail As your repair begins to fill out, work in natural-looking cracks and lines with your X-Acto knife and fingernails. Mimic the natural aspects of your tooth as best as you can. When repairing my tooth's root, I created fissures and cracks that matched up with the real side of the tooth. This really helped create the illusion that the repair is natural. To mimic the heavily detailed surface of the tooth's root, I gently pushed my wire brush into the surface multiple times. Try to do this when your putty is still wet because if the putty is dry it takes much more effort. ALSO, make sure to keep the putty very smooth in areas of enamel (excluding line/crack detail). Once the putty dries, take some fine sandpaper and smooth it out further. Steel wool can then be used to make the surface even smoother. (Thanks to steelhead9 for those two tips!) Be very anal retentive about this. You will appreciate it in the next step. Step 5: Paint! This is my favorite part because it's the point in this process where the repair finally comes to life! It also happens to be the most frustrating part. Depending on your tooth's coloring you will likely need the following colors in your arsenal: Umber Black White Sienna (maybe) Red (maybe) Blue (maybe) This step is where perfectionism (making the putty super smooth in areas of enamel) really pays off. Paint highlights the imperfections of your putty, so don't be disappointed or surprised if you have to start over. I started over probably two or three times. As far as painting technique, I would love to give more instruction, but that is really an entire lesson in itself. Don't be afraid to paint a little onto the actual fossil. You will need to do this in order to properly camouflage the merged area of putty and tooth. In fact, don't be afraid to overlap your putty a millimeter or so onto the tooth as well. My biggest tip though is make sure you paint in a well lit room. Painted colors can look spot-on until you step into good lighting... Step 6: Apply a finish depending on your tooth Some teeth with top-quality enamel will need a glossy finish applied in order for the repair to look natural. My tooth did not require a high-gloss coat. Either way, you ought to apply some kind of light finish to your tooth in order to preserve the repair from scratches and humidity. I have not yet found the perfect finish to do the job, and am still experimenting with spray finish, clear acrylic gloss, clear furniture gloss, low-gloss nail polish, etc. Feel free to add your thoughts and recommendations below! Below you can see my repaired tooth. The root could use a bit more texture and the enamel and bourlette are a little rough in places. Overall, I'm happy with the result though. I hope these instructions were helpful! If anything is unclear or too general I'd be glad to elaborate further. Good luck!!!! Your Fellow Fossil-Fanatic, Lauren
  35. 16 likes
    The past few weeks at the Tucson Fossil I ran across a few fake Spinosaur claws but also was surprised how many good ones there were on the market. I also understand the issues with online claws so decided to put this topic out to help collectors gain a better understanding of them since they are very expensive. These are my opinions and welcome others since no one person as all the answers. There is no bullet proof approach you can take to insure you have a claw that is not totally fake or composited. There are some things you need to consider. - First try dealing with what I call preferred Moroccan merchants, those are typically found at big shows and a few have online or FB sites, ones that specialize in Moroccan material are the best. They typically know what to look for and can point out issues with claws. Makes life a bit harder to get one but you want a good claw don't you. This does not take you off the hook its still YOUR responsibility to know what you are buying. - Unless you are an expert never buy one from Auction site. If you see one that interest you see seek assistant from an expert, not a collector friend, or post it here on the forum we have lots of opinions here. - 2D photos are not always the best to see what is going on with a claw, I prefer handling one. Composited claws can be good and photos don't show you all the issues. - Good preservation and quality are key for making life easy in deciding if its a good claw or not. There is where it pays to focus on the better claws. Claws that are deformed, partial, compressed, beat up or have matrix on them are very difficult to insure you have a good one and especially hard for experts to positively say its good. It always best to save and wait to buy a higher end one. - As a general rule try avoid claws that have matrix glued on them or have seams with matrix. The matrix is there for only one reason to hid trouble. Matrix is a red flag, just tread carefully when looking at one of these. Ask yourself why risk it and buy a potentially problem claw, there are plenty out there that are clean. PRICE = Preservation (Quality) + Size - Repairs - Real claws are expensive, simple as that. Nice ones in the 6+ inch range can easily fetch over 1K depending on quality, 7+ inches can go over 10K . So if you see big claws under 1K there must be a reason unless its the deal of a century and they exist. Most of the claws I show are in the 1-2K range for 4-6 inches. Here are a few from the Tucson show to give you an understanding what real ones look like. Focus on shape, the articulation end, blood grooves and preservation. These two are clean no matrix, no compression may have been broken and reattached, reasonable preservation. Nice claws for any collection Higher Grade - Fatter, nice surface finish, good preservation, few if any repairs. Couple of more examples. Honest merchant shows, some repair and resto. Excellent high end claw around 7 inches very very expensive Fake Claws These two were laying in the box and the merchant said he just had them fabricated. They look pretty good to a novice both reasonable size and configuration. Probably copied from a good one. Red Flags : Check out the graining its does not follow the curve of the claw but is straight. Uniform Color and looks too clean. Finish is flat with no hit of sheen seen on bone. Super long ones are the most suspect, here are two in a box. Unusually long and thin, usually the dorsal curvature is not smooth to the tip has kinks, the preservation is odd, hard to see bone, lots of surface repairs. These may be composited, faked or combo? Who knows to risky to find out. Off an auction site - terrible fake easier to spot- 6.9 inch claw One of the hardest items to replicate is the blood groove that is on either side of the claw. The groove is the widest at the articulation end and slowly tapers to a point to form a channel at the tip that extends outward beyond the dorsal surface. Here is an example of a perfectly preserved one. Here is the tip of the claw from above and you can see the blood groove is just a channel in the claw. Another Characteristic on these claws is that when looked at from the top or bottom they are shaped like an isosceles triangle. Much bigger at the articulation end than the tip. Preservation may affect this but most should be tapered. Like most theropods, hand claws vary depending on digit so there will be variations depending on that and the number of different Spinosaurids that exist in Kem Kem. This is a big unknown and we believe these type of claws all belong to the Spinosaurid family. But here are a couple more you can check out the blood grooves, articulation and shape
  36. 16 likes
    This is a huge announcement I have to make. It has been under wraps for quite a few months now and some of you may recall my damselfly find from the July 2017 Fossil of the Month contest. Well a HUGE thanks is in order for @oilshale for pointing me in the direction of one of his friends to help identify this beautiful specimen. Turns out this is not just a new species, or even genus, but an entirely new FAMILY that will soon be published!!! This damselfly will be labeled as the type specimen (Holotype) for the Family, Genus, AND Species. I donated this beautiful bug to my friends over at Fossil Butte National Monument where staff has been working to catalogue and name many of their unidentified insect specimens. This Damselfly will be a great addition for them as they build a new exhibit focused on insects of the Green River in the next year or so. This bug was a very special find for me, and knowing that it was going to be the type specimen adds even more to it. I haven't been able to post this in part because it was meant as a Christmas present for my wife. She was speechless to find out that the species will be named after her. I have no idea how I will ever up myself from this, but here's to trying. This has definitely been a highlight in my fossil career and I can't imagine ever finding another type specimen. I am happy to know that you all will share in my excitement and when the paper is finally published I will make sure to share it here as well! Attached is a copy of the letter from Fossil Butte National Monument, edited of course, and if you read it you will see why!
  37. 16 likes
    Hello all! Recently I have been obsessed with cephalopods and realized there is a real lack of reconstructions of the color patterns on extinct nautiloids and ammonites! This led me to compile a list of known fossil color patterns on cephalopods. After a year of on and off research, I found about 90 species of cephalopods retaining official or undescribed, original patterning on their shells. These are the first 15 species on my list. The color markings are based both on descriptions and photographs of the fossil material. The shades of the markings are based on the fossils, but also inferred. I Hope you will appreciate my work!
  38. 16 likes
    We have read many posts of members wanting to know the age of a bone found in a river because it looks really old, only to be shot down with the news that it is a modern bone. So I decided to conduct an experiment to see just how long it would take for a bone to take on an aged look enough to look like fossil bone. This past winter, we had some tremendous storms that our shores haven't experienced in a long time which deposited many things upon the beach including a bloated beached whale and many dead cattle along with their bones. As I was walking the beach I came across several cow bones and gathered a few. I took a nice white vertebra and wanted to do the experiment on it. All it took was a small plastic tub filled with water and a handful of dead leaves. The vert was placed in the tub, along with the leaves and water. It was then sealed with the lid, left sit for a month and shabam! An instant fossil. So the purpose of these little test was to prove that it doesn't take very long for tannic acid to do its thing and change the look of modern bone. Hope you enjoyed this project, I did. The last picture has another leg bone showing what the vertebra looked like originally.
  39. 16 likes
    To start with, all those names apply to the same species. The different generic names reflect various opinions about the taxonomic relationship of that species to other mega-toothed sharks. Other posters are much better versed in the history of the various names and hopefully they will offer comments. I'll just mention that "Carcharodon megalodon" reflected a belief that megalodon was closely related to the white shark. This idea has been pretty much completely discounted due to the numerous differences between megalodon and white shark teeth; the similarities are mostly superficial, and the generic assignment is no longer regarded as valid. I believe the currently favored combination is Otodus megalodon. Although the frequent shifting of names can be irritating, it helps (maybe a little bit) to remember that Linnean taxonomic groupings above the level of species (so genera, families, orders etc) are artificial constructs, and in a way they are hypotheses about the relationships between species. When someone names a new genus, they are making a statement that the species they are studying is sufficiently different from all other named species that it cannot be grouped with them in the same genus. Of course there is no hard and fast rule for "how different is different enough". Historically that has been a matter of judgement, hopefully by someone with a great deal of familiarity with the set of species under consideration. However it is still fairly subjective, with some researchers defining genera very narrowly and splitting species between many genera (so-called splitters), and those taking a broader view and grouping species that cover a large amount of variation under a single genus (so-called lumpers). These days tools for analyzing large matrices of measurements of morphological features can perhaps make the practice a bit more objective, in that you can reconstruct phylogenetic trees and look for natural clustering of species into higher categories. Anyway, when two species are put into the same genus the scientist is making a hypothesis that the two species have a very close phylogenetic relationship; you might think of them as small twigs from the same small branch of a phylogenetic tree. Species that are put in different genera but, say, the same sub-family are twigs that split off the same branch but further apart. In this way the names come to reflect the evolutionary history of the species. So putting species in the same genus reflects the researchers ideas about the closeness of the relationship between the species, coupled with her ideas about how narrowly or broadly to define genera. This hypothesis is dependent on data (the morphology of the species, which can be reduced to measurements of lots of characters), but that data is also filtered by ideas about the relative importance of individual characters. In the past much weight was given to the presence or absence of serrations on shark teeth, so species might be grouped based largely on that character. Nowadays it is recognized that serrations can be gained or lost quickly in evolutionary time, so they can evolve independently (convergent evolution) multiple times and they may not reflect actual close relationships. Other characters are now given more "weight", in other words they are thought to be less likely to evolve multiple times so their presence in two different species is likely to be due to actual close relationship, such as sharing a common ancestor that had evolved that feature. An example might be pores that represent the pattern of blood vessels in the root. Shifting hypotheses about relationships of "megalodon" to other sharks, based on more data (such as more transitional fossils, or better understanding of how to weight characters in phylogenetic analysis) will inevitably be reflected in changes in the choice of genus name to apply. Don
  40. 16 likes
    Here's a paper explaining how the spiral cracks form: Spiral Cracks in Drying Precipitates Z. Néda, K.-t. Leung, L. Józsa, and M. Ravasz Phys. Rev. Lett. 88, 095502 – Published 12 February 2002 Neda et al 2002 Spiral cracks in drying precipitates.pdf A key figure: Appears to involve two generations of cracking. First generation forms "shards" and then the spiral crack forms along the detachment front as the dried fragment detaches from the substrate. There are lots of other papers on this if you look up spiral cracks and desiccation. You can even do an experiment easily at home to watch their formation!
  41. 16 likes
    Compressed Air Tools....Most compressed air tools have quite a high air consumption so its essential you aquire a compressor with a decent capacity storage tank.... Im running a 70 litre compressor at the moment and when im using the die grinders or chisels, it is running continuously to maintain the pressure I need.... With a bigger storage tank, say 150 litres, this would not really be much of a problem....It would have long quiet spells before needing to fire up and refil the tank....also compressors can be noisey, so its important you consider this when thinking of buying one.... there are quiet compressors on the market which cost probably two or three times the amount of conventional compressors.... Air Chisels... These are good for removing upto 3-6 mm of rock at a time... after the inital bulk material has been removed, while you are getting closer to the fossil... a smaller chisel point is more effective for removing greater a thickness as the force from the chisel will then be applied to a smaller cross sectional area... you can see in the photo ive flattened an area of rock adjacent to the stil saw finish, quite quickly in less than a minute using this equipment... eye protection is essential.... Die Grinder.... These fitted with tungsten burrs and grinding tips can quickly smooth off a section of rock, or remove a concave area getting closer to the fossil... they utilise quite a high air consumption, but again are quite effective... In less than a miniute I smoothed over the surface of the flat area I had just created with the air chisel... Eye protection is essential.... Airpens.... I use a Chicargo CP pen for the bulk of my work.... without going into too much detail at this point regarding techniques, and treating it as a mechanism for matrix removal, its very easy to think a cp pen will remove 2-3 mm of rock across a surface .... you use it like you are ploughing a field, applying an even pressure, creating furrows in the rock... the next pass you do at 90 degress to the first, taking the tops off the previous furrows... it can be very effective....The forward exhaust of the air greatly assists visibilty when using this type of pen, blowing the dust and grit away as you progress... Eye protection is advisable... following manufacturers guidelines... and use a good quality dust mask.... Arrow Airpen... The second airpen I use has an extended tip fitted and is not quite as heavy duty as the CP... it is great for intricate work, doing centres of ammonites or in between ribs, where the CP pen is proving to be too strong... I use this to great effect under magnification on small nodular material... it is very controllable... and adequate for soft matrix.... Follow manufacturers reccomendations regarding safety....as well as a good quality dust mask Mini Die Grinder... These are good as finishing tools for smoothing off the matrix when fitted with various small grinding stones... they usually have a 3mm collet so most dremel type attachments will fit into this tool.... unfortunately they have a rear exhaust which doesnt allow the dust to be blown away.... i tend to hold the tool one handed, and bend the exhaust tube round to blow back onto the work.... this has some success, but you find yourself stopping and restarting after having to blow the dust off.... a good quality dust mask is an essential bit of safety kit when using these, even if carried out ...outdoors....
  42. 15 likes
    First off- here is my bucket of finds for the day: As I was making my way around the back side of the fill, a woman approached me from the sidewalk and asked if I was fossil hunting. I told her I was, and she proceeded to tell me how she and her husband used to collect Mazon Creek fossils themselves in the 1970s and 1980s. She wished me luck, and I continued searching. A little while later she stopped by again and said "My huband still has some buckets of unopened nodules that have been sitting in the garage for years. Would you be interested in them?" I said yes, of course, if he really wanted to get rid of them. She said he would be happy to, and he would be home from work in a little bit, so to just stop by on my way out of the subdivision. I thanked her and told her it would be my pleasure, then continued collecting for a little while more. Once I had made my way completely around the site, I loaded my car and drove over to their house. There I met the husband, who pointed out the buckets of nodules he was giving to me- one nearly full bucket of nodules from Chowder Flats: And a smaller container full of nodules collected from the banks of Mazon Creek itself: But there was more- He said "The rocks are great, but I have something else I think you will really appreciate," and led me into his garage. There, he had a pile of fossil guidebooks and scientific literature, and he told me about the significance of the works before offering them to me as well! I could not believe his generosity and told him much I appreciated it. That he was willing to share his collection with a younger hobbyist was truly heart warming, and made me happy that I have returned to fossil collecting after taking many years off. But to make the day truly, truly special, he then regaled me with tales of his best finds, including a nearly complete whip scorpion and a gigantic Tully Monster. He also told me how he met Francis Tully collecting in the field! He asked me about my best finds as well, and we talked about the dwindling number of collecting sites in the area. Finally, I thanked him and his wife again and got ready to leave. What an amazing day- I drove up not knowing whether I would find anything at all, and I finished with an experience beyond my wildest dreams.
  43. 15 likes
    A number of collectors are very interested in Triassic Dinosaur tooth material, however, lots of misinformation exists, partially because little is known and dealers want to sell product. My knowledge is very limited so I tried to put together an assemblage of current information that has been published so that we can all become better versed on this topic. I'm not saying its complete but its the best I can do with my limited knowledge. Most technical papers on this subject are outdated, difficult to read for a novice and not complete enough. Fortunately a recent, legible paper was published in 2015 by Heckert & Lucas that has helped me. I've tried to extract the pertinent information, associated with teeth, since that what most collectors are interested in. First let me get on my sandbox and say that we should NOT assume that what is being sold is accurately described regardless who is selling it or how much you like a dealer. Very little is known and even less is described. If a seller insists what he has identified is accurate, have him show you the technical documents that supports his diagnosis. There are a number of theropods and archosaurs in these assemblages that have serrated teeth so identification is difficult. Triassic dealers similar to those in the Kem Kem which label everthing Spinosaurus like to label everything Coelophysis. Just be cautious..its your money. Almost all the teeth you see sold come from New Mexico so I will focus in that region. A Map of New Mexico with the Triassic outcrops shown below as well as the associated Counties. The numbers correlate to the stratigraphic formations shown below in Figure 4. Figure 4 The Zuni Mountains in West-Central NM are from the lower Chinle Group (Bluewater Creek Fm) and contain Tetrapod fossils amphibians and phytosaurs and aetosaurs. Dinosaurs are possible but nothing is diagnostic. Faunal List of the lower Chinle Group Zuni Mountains Northern/West Central New Mexico has yielded some of the most interesting Vertebrate Fossils most associated with Coelophysis at Ghost Ranch. Included in this group are the Petrified Forest and Rock Point Formation of the western counties. Chindesaurus bryansmalli, Tawa hallae and Daemonosaurus chauliodus are considered valid a dinosaurs in the Petrified Forest Fm. Coelophysis bauri is valid from the Rock Point Formation. Faunal List of the Petrified Forest and Rock Point Formation - Key on this list is Coelophysis bauri in the Rock Point Fm Northeasten New Mexico (Bull Canyon and Redonda Formations). Heckerts 2015 paper comments that dinosaur fossils remains are rare in the Bull Canyon Formation. The coelophysoid Gojirasaurus quayi has been described but its taxonomic placement is uncertain. Herrerasauridae tooth fragments have been found but nothing has been assigned to a taxon. Heckerts & Lucas 2015 Paper on Triassic Vertebrate Paleontology in New Mexico https://libres.uncg.edu/ir/asu/f/Heckert_Andrew_triassic.pdf Bull Canyon Formation 2001 Paper on Vertebrate Fauna https://nmgs.nmt.edu/publications/guidebooks/downloads/52/52_p0123_p0151.pdf Latest placement ( Hans-Dieter Sues et al 2011 ) Identifying Coelophysis bauri Teeth - There is lots of variation their teeth and I will show a few types. The Museum of Northern Arizona publication Coelophysis describes the teeth as follows: All the teeth are recurved Premaxillary teeth: rounded cross-section, smaller teeth are ribbed but smooth on larger ones. None show serrations. Maxillary Teeth: the first tooth is recurved with no serrations, second tooth has serrations only on the posterior carina. All the other maxillary teeth have serrations on both edges. Some of the teeth the serrations may be limited to the upper part of the anterior (mesial) edge. Dentary Teeth: the first seven teeth lack serrations, eight tooth serrations only on the posterior edge. Subsequent teeth have serrations on both edges. The first four teeth are elliptical (rounded) in cross-section being compressed after that. Anterior teeth may contain ridges. Serrations are very fine 8 to 9 per millimeter on the posterior (distal) edge. (other publications say 7/mm) Distal Carina Denticles Premaxillary, Maxillary and Dentary teeth shown - Dentary tooth Maxillary Tooth Anterior Denticles Posterior Maxillary Tooth Paper on Coelophsis Teeth by Currie and Buckley Coelophisis.pdf Additional images of the teeth with no supporting info Good overall paper on C. bauri but does nothing to increase our knowledge on how to describe its teeth https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292525024_The_paleobiology_of_Coelophysis_bauri_Cope_from_the_Upper_Triassic_Apachean_Whitaker_quarry_New_Mexico_with_detailed_analysis_of_a_single_quarry_block Other Theropods Gojirasaurus quayi : one tooth was described with the holotype however it was found isolated and cannot be positively assigned to this species. I cannot find an image of it. Chindesaurus bryansmalli : not aware of any skeletal material Daemonosaurus chauliodus The paper does not get into detail on the teeth. See below http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/royprsb/278/1723/3459.full.pdf Tawa hallae : paper is paywalled 1 http://science.sciencemag.org/content/326/5959/1530
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    The internet is full of improperly identified dinosaur material, not only on auction sites but from very trusted dealers. Remind everyone that the best way to avoid being disappointed is do not assume what is written is accurate, educate yourself in what your interest are or post items here on the forum for feedback. Most of the discrepancies I see are not intentional just lack of knowledge on the part of the seller/dealer or believing what the digger told him. Lets start with the Hell Creek Formation- again Dromaeosaurus is not a species you find in this or the Lance formation, they are all over the web. Dromaeosaurus come from an older deposits, Campanian. Most all the teeth I see sold appear to be Nanotyrannus. The only two Dromaeosaurid teeth in this age are Acheroraptor and Dakotaraptor. A tiny example of what I currently see sold, these look like Nano teeth This individual is selling a Troodon claw. Troodon or now properly called Stenonychosaurus look nothing like this claw and I've provided images of what they should like. This is a reptile claw. The real deal foot claws These vertebra are described from Dinosaur raptors. They are from Crocks or other reptiles, definitely not dinosaur Kem Kem material - I could fill up this site with all the improperly identified material. Please post your interests here before you buy. Reminder we do not know what Rugops or Deltadromeus teeth look like and Rugops is not a species that is described from the Kem Kem deposits its known from Niger. The same is true for Dromaeosaurus that species does not exist in the fauna. Most believe a Dromaeosaurid like dinosaur exist but identifying its teeth is still uncertain. Most of the teeth sold that look like this with the distal edge perpendicular to the base are Abelsaurid indet. not Dromaeosaurid or Rugops etc I saw this tooth being sold, its a huge Carcharodontosaurus tooth 16cm. Please use caution, the seller just talks about slight glue and dirt in some areas but to me there appears to be lots of work done on that crown. Hard to tell whats going on but its more than slight glue and dirt. Just be cautious there is more there than meets the eye and it can get very expensive.
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    A couple of months ago, my brother, knowing my love of all things reptilian and prehistoric, sent me a link to a fossil that was for sale on an online buy/sell site. This wasn't just a shell, or a fish, or even a trilobite or bone fragment, but a complete articulated Hyphalosaurus. We all know the deal with the Chinese and their abundant fake fossils, so I laughed when I saw the ad with the most perfectly placed skeleton on it. I wasn't falling for that nonsense! Besides, it's posted on kijiji! The next day I looked at it again, mostly because nothing good was on TV and I had a closer look, it was actually a pretty good fake! I counted the vertebrae, they checked out. These guys are really paying attention to the details! I counted the ribs, they nailed those too. I asked the seller for better photos, she obliged and informed me that her husband had received it as a gift while at a business meeting in China many years ago, which is about the only way something like this could have ended up here because China banned the export of vertebrate fossils in the early 2000's. I also posted it on this site to see what TFF members thought of it. Opinions were mixed, with a few saying no way it's real and others saying they saw nothing that would suggest a fake. Be cautious and prepare for disappointment was the message I was taking from the responses. By now, my wishful thinking was getting the better of me and I was trying to convince myself it could be real, despite the vast quantity of fakes available, despite the fact that it is complete and pristine and even though a few experienced internet friends said it was "too good to be true, don't fall for it". After a couple of days my optimistic side got the best of my common sense side and I sent this lady a bank draft. Sending money to strangers on kijiji is a bad idea, but I would have burned more in gas than her asking price. It arrived a couple of days later, poorly packed and hardly protected at all (bubblewrap is cheap ma'am!) , but to be honest it was a win in itself since I was half expecting to never hear from her again after she received my payment. I opened the the box, got my hand lens and microscope and examined this thing. I got goose bumps as it became evident that I was looking at the most incredible (and authentic) specimen of Hyphalosaurus baitaigouensis I could have ever imagined. Microscopic teeth and pores in the skull were all preserved in perfect detail, little claws and even what looks like some obscured remnants of its last meal in the gut were observable. A small amount of work had been done to the matrix, but the skeleton was in exceptionally good condition and had no noticeable restoration at all. It was the real deal and it was stunning. To me, this is the equivalent of buying a famous painting at a thrift shop, or a rare roman artifact at a yard sale. These kinds of things never happen to me, except this time it did!
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    Leg bones are common and in this trip collected two tibia's both quite long about 3 feet. The process is typical expose the bone, pedestal it, wrap it in aluminum foil and then jacket it to make transporting it easier. In the hard clay takes around 3 hours to get one out. On this one the front end was very solid and I removed it to make jacking easier. I use tools to flip the bone to minimize any possibility of the bone sticking to the matrix Perfect all we have is matrix chunks visible. Second tibia I was happy to be able to find a couple of foot ungals which are not common . The first one is 4 inches long. You can first see what is exposed and I have no clue what it is. Very happy to see an ungual shape. The ground was wet so the matrix is attached to the bone making it hard to see. I took it out in a block to avoid any damage to the ungual being damp. Ungual two was found by hitting one of its wings "ouch" but I have the piece and will easily be repaired and wlll be very nice when cracked filled. I was also fortunate to find a couple of nice toe bones An infant one which is my favorite.
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    I continue to see collectors get scammed on items they are buying on auction and online dealer sites. So I thought it would be good to revisit a few of my favorite ones. Dromaeosaurus species teeth from the Hell Creek or Lance Formation. There are only two Dromaeosaurids described from these formations : Dakotaraptor and Acheroraptor and Dromaeosaurus is not one of them. Dromaeosaurid's have two important characteristics to look for , they are recurved and the Mesial serrations are much finer that the Distal ones. Most teeth being sold are probably juvenile Nanotyrannus like the one I show in the photo that is described as a Dromaeosaurus. Nuthetes theropod teeth from France There is still a question if this is a valid taxon but that is not my issue in this discussion. If valid, Nuthetes is a Dromaeosaurid/Velociraptorinae so it need to exhibit the morphology of one. The ones being sold are triangular in shape and have similiar serration on both edges, like in the photo. A Nuthetes tooth should be recurved with Mesial and Distal serrations very different. Most being sold should be identified Theropod indet. Sarcosuchus teeth from the Kem Kem of Morroco There are over 8 different Croc species described from the Kem Kem and Sarcosuchus is not one of them. It may exist in this fauna but the odds of one being available for sale are low and difficult to differentiate with other species. This is what is typically sold. Pterosaur claws from the Kem Kem of Morroco There listing usually talks about how rare and special these claws are and why you need to purchase it. Well I do not believe there are pterosaur but do not know what they are. The most common description Ive heard is fish gill rakers. If they were claws the proximal end would have an articulation surface and not be flat. I've seen these for sale up to $1,100 USD Kem Kem theropod claws Fabricated claws from this region unfortunately is a common occurrence. One needs to be very diligent when buying these claws and the dealer may not even be aware they are fake. Don't hesitate to bounce concerns off forum members. They are usually expensive and sometimes hard to recognize. Daspletosaurus teeth There are three Tyrannosaurid's from the Judith River and Two Medicine Formations: Gorgosaurus, Albertosaurus and Daspletosaurus. Teeth under 3" are indistinguishable between one another and you should not pay a premium or purchase it because it's being sold as Daspletosaurus. Albertosaurus teeth can get over 3" . Deltadromeus teeth from the Kem Kem of Morroco Although described from the Kem Kem we have yet to understand what these teeth look like since no skull has ever been found. Pure speculation on those being sold as one. Rugops teeth from the Kem Kem of Morroco This is a species that has been described from Niger and not the Kem Kem. Its an Abelisaurid, so teeth being sold as that may be from this animal but until a skull is described it's pure speculation.
  48. 14 likes
    I know there have been several threads on TFF that talk about storage cabinets for fossils, but since they are all a bit old I will start a new one to describe the storage cabinet I am in the process of making. It's not done yet but I thought I would show progress as I make it. A few things about the design. First, I wanted it to look at least somewhat presentable so I wouldn't have to stash it in some out-of-the-way location in our house. To keep the cost down I am going with oak-veneer plywood for the outside case, not solid oak. I'm using ordinary sanded plywood for the drawers, with solid oak dress panels at the front. The overall dimensions were driven by a couple of factors. First, I don't own a table saw or miter saw, so it had to be something I could make by just using my handheld circular saw. (I use a guide to make long straight cuts.) Also, I don't have a pickup truck so I had to have the 4x8 plywood sheets cut in half at Home Depot so they would fit in my SUV. That limited the maximum dimension to somewhat under 48" (Home Depot saw cuts are pretty atrocious on plywood). I decided to go with a design that had 10 drawers whose inside dimensions are 20x17". The lower two drawers are an inch taller than the rest. I also decided to use drawer slides for a smoother operation when opening the drawers. That meant the overall cabinet design was just about 36" high by 24" wide by 20" deep. Since I'm an engineer by training I felt it necessary to design the entire thing in Visio and use an Excel spreadsheet to calculate the dimensions of each piece, taking into account the exact measured thicknesses of the plywood. Here's what the design looks like: I've been leisurely working on building it for the last couple of weeks and estimate I still have about a week to go. Here's what it looks like so far: Partially assembled, held together by clamps and screws: Drawer design. Note that I have done a somewhat unusual design. Instead of using 1/4" hardboard that is held to the sides by dado cuts (which would be OK if the drawer was for storing lighter things like clothes or towels), I used much more solid 1/2" plywood screwed to the sides. You might question this design, but look closely at the drawer slides and you will see they have "L" shaped ledges that screw to the underside of the drawers. So the drawer slides are supporting the drawers by their bottoms, not their sides. This design is better for holding heavy objects like fossils. To keep the cost down I used inexpensive drawer slides rated for 50lbs each, which should be sufficient for the invertebrate fossils I collect. Now I need to finish gluing and ATTACHING all the sides together, add the top, install the dress panels around the top and bottom, cover the screw holes with wood plugs, cut the drawer dress panels to final size and mount them, stain everything, and add a clear polyurethane coat to finish it off. Should be done by Christmas.
  49. 14 likes
    Posted are a few concerns I found wandering through the internet. These are but a few examples of the type of issues you may encounter. I send this out as a reminder if you're shopping for fossil presents of any kind. Sellers mis-identify material simply through lack of knowledge but it's up to the buyer to know what they are looking at. Don't hesitate to post interests BEFORE you buy. BUYER BEWARE when it comes to fossils of any kind. Seller wants huge money for this Saurolophus osborni lower arm from the Two Medicine Formation. Looks like a nice arm but some of his facts are incorrect. This species is not found in the Campanian of the Two Medicine Formation but the early Maastrichtian age of the Horseshoe Canyon Formation. Another key point is that it's very difficult to determine taxons from post cranial bones of Hadrosaurs especially in an fauna where multiple species exist. Nice lower arm from somewhere and from some unknown Hadrosaur. What's this seller thinking the "2 Medicine Man Formation" really attention to detail not one of his strong points. Someone tell him its the Two Medicine Formation. Maybe he watches lots of Westerns Seller describes this as Pachycephalosaurus in my opinion it's Thescelosaurus Seller is properly describing this beautiful jaw as Ornithischian but in detail description adds that it was discovered where many Pachycephalosaurus fossils were found giving one the impression it's Pachy. In my opinion it's Thescelosaurus. Teeth of these two species look similar inquire before you buy. I see a lot of these being offered or sale, nice Christmas gift. For those of you that are new to collecting the only thing real here are the crowns. Nice gift Seller is offering this Claw and Identifying it as Velociraptor from the Hell Creek Formation. It's a very worn Anzu wyliei hand claw.
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