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ConnorR

First off, this is my first time posting on the forum. So hello everyone!

 

I just got my hands on some Spinosaurus fossils, allegedly from the Kem Kem beds. Both are from a seller in Arizona. One of them is a hand claw, as seen below.

 

20220302_140423.thumb.jpg.0a8a7db8933ab40aa3567f1f00287f04.jpg  20220302_140431.thumb.jpg.acfdfe3ac8eeb1573709f92f76ae56d8.jpg

20220302_140443.thumb.jpg.d545cd0d78c0d351300f282d1fb5728a.jpg  20220302_140452.thumb.jpg.292519304a143278b9f6435e79f560f0.jpg

I'm not 100% sure that it's from a Spinosaurus, so I hope someone can tell me. But it seems very real.

 

The other specimen, though, has some bizarre properties. I thought it might be fake. But after doing some tests on my own, I'm only more confused.

 

20220303_143141.thumb.jpg.dd01b962ddfbdfe033a93fa1630a9ecd.jpg  20220303_143204.thumb.jpg.fdbeca95bf6e39b9ac6e1ef8b11a9f8a.jpg

20220305_083955.thumb.jpg.ac503e9201bfa3033201201641dddc2a.jpg  20220305_084011.thumb.jpg.198836c65ac255de53228803f92b166d.jpg

These are the vertebrae that I bought. The first thing you'll notice is that they appear crushed, flattened and distorted. In the last photo, you can see some tool marks on the back of the second vertebra. But I noticed some strange things. Firstly, it makes a hollow-ish sound when tapped. Not the matrix, just the bone. Secondly, the bone has a faint odor that's hard to describe. I did a scratch test with a small pick to see what was up, and it's VERY soft. It's somewhere between 2 and 3 on the Mohs scale. I can't scratch it with my fingernails, but I can scratch it with limestone, producing a fine white powder. I scratched a little deeper to see if the smell was because of paint, but found that it's the same deeper down. The matrix is also fairly soft. I can scrape it easily with a steel tool.

 

Confused, I did an acid test with vinegar to see if maybe it's carbonate or something. It didn't react, but I found that the bone absorbs liquids very slowly, even though it's not porous to the naked eye. And by slow, I mean it takes 20-30 seconds to absorb a drop of liquid.

 

Another strange thing is the coloration. It's mostly white, with orange in some parts. But in the following image, you can see that some of the cracks have a reddish color.

20220305_095815.thumb.jpg.4ee2a966644621b6688c8002e09a05bd.jpg

 

Now notice that there are small fossil fish teeth and vertebrae in the matrix. I wanted to see if they had the same properties as the large bones. If they don't, then maybe that would indicate that the Spinosaurus bones are fake. Maybe the matrix is made of crushed rock that just happened to have fish fossils in it? So I did a scratch test on the fish vertebra in the following image to see how hard it was.

20220305_084100-1.thumb.jpg.b9eb8a3317e7e3685aa83810c80922f5.jpg

 

I found that it has exactly the same properties as the larger bones. It's the same color, it has the same hardness, and it produces the same fine white powder when scratched. The fish vertebra is only 3mm long, and there are many smaller fossil fragments throughout, all with the same strange properties as the large bones.

 

At this point, I'm convinced that it's real, and that it's probably Spinosaurus. But beyond that, everything about this specimen is weird. Does anyone have any ideas about what the deal is here? How could this have formed naturally? What mineral(s) is it made out of? Or if you think it is fake, how do you think it was made? Either way, do you think $500 was a good deal?

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Fossildude19

Welcome.  :)
The claw looks carved to me, and the vertebrae look like plaster molds, covered with matrix.  :unsure:

Just my 2 cents.

 

Maybe @Troodon  or @LordTrilobite will be able to take a look and give opinions.

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LordTrilobite

The "claw" definitely looks like a really bad composite. Waste of money, sorry to say.

Likely made from random pieces of bone from the Kem Kem beds and then carved and glued together to give it the appearance of a "spinosaurus claw".

 

The vertebrae look really nice. Definitely real. But also definitely not any sort of spinosaur or even dinosaur. They look like plesiosaur vertebrae from much younger sediments. This colour is typical of the phosphate beds that is Maastrichtian in age. Kem Kem is much older. Other options from the phosphate beds are mosasaurs or crocs. There are dinosaurs known in the phosphate beds but they are incredibly rare and spinosaurs have never been found there. They were most likely already extinct.

 

 

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Troodon

I agree with LordTrilobite.  That claw is an awful fake.  Composited and fabricated.  Not worth 1 cent.  I would return it.   Most of claws he has are junk.

The verts are nice most likely from the phosphate beds of the Ouled Abdoun Basin.  Very common at the Tucson show.

 

Suggest you post your interest here before you purchase.  Lots of junk from Morocco you have to be very cautious and do not trust what is written

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ConnorR
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, LordTrilobite said:

The "claw" definitely looks like a really bad composite. Waste of money, sorry to say.

Likely made from random pieces of bone from the Kem Kem beds and then carved and glued together to give it the appearance of a "spinosaurus claw".

 

The vertebrae look really nice. Definitely real. But also definitely not any sort of spinosaur or even dinosaur. They look like plesiosaur vertebrae from much younger sediments. This colour is typical of the phosphate beds that is Maastrichtian in age. Kem Kem is much older. Other options from the phosphate beds are mosasaurs or crocs. There are dinosaurs known in the phosphate beds but they are incredibly rare and spinosaurs have never been found there. They were most likely already extinct.

 

 

 

1 hour ago, Troodon said:

I agree with LordTrilobite.  That claw is an awful fake.  Composited and fabricated.  Not worth 1 cent.  I would return it.   Most of claws he has are junk.

The verts are nice most likely from the phosphate beds of the Ouled Abdoun Basin.  Very common at the Tucson show.

 

Suggest you post your interest here before you purchase.  Lots of junk from Morocco you have to be very cautious and do not trust what is written

 

Thanks everyone! Well too bad about the claw. It shouldn't be too hard to get a refund. If I can get my money back without having to return it, maybe I can make something cool with it?

 

About the verts. I googled a few images, and they definitely look a lot more like plesiosaur verts than spino verts.

18914.png.bbb88a23974a2d878ab6f1cb3fdfdf2b.pngbfc321e5-d16a-470c-a555-c83b041d2cef.jpg.fa9c20c0d2cbd613daba7a3057ec8454.jpgea6a2895-c310-4247-890a-c86e27be9f48.jpg.1aedd84a31b4909fb60daa36acc761cb.jpg

 

I'm very happy with this. Plesiosaurs are still cool, and the verts are amazing nonetheless. The only sad thing is that there was a separate auction for another set of three vertebrae that I'm sure are part of the same specimen as mine. But someone sniped me out of them. I ended up using that money to buy the fake claw. So someone out there has another part of this plesiosaur. Maybe they're on the forum somewhere?

Edited by ConnorR
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Troodon
1 minute ago, ConnorR said:

The only sad thing is that there was a separate auction another for set of three vertebrae that I'm sure are part of the same specimen as mine. But someone sniped me out of them.

Not necessarily there are a lot out there that look similar including the matrix.  You cannot assume they are from the same animal.

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ConnorR
2 hours ago, Troodon said:

Not necessarily there are a lot out there that look similar including the matrix.  You cannot assume they are from the same animal.

I guess not. But the possibility was alluring!

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LordTrilobite
1 hour ago, ConnorR said:

@Troodon @LordTrilobite Anyway, what minerals do you guys think the fossil is made of? Asking as a first semester geo major.

Dunno. I'm all about anatomy. I'm not very goo at geology.

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Troodon

Also no idea, have enough difficulty determining what it is no less the mineral content.   All I can say its from a phosphate deposit so I Googled that and came up with :

Phosphate Minerals
Four types of rock phosphate minerals are carbonateapatite [3Ca3(PO4)2.CaCO3], fluorapatite [3Ca3 (PO4)2.CaF2], hydroxyapatite [3Ca3(PO4)2.Ca(OH)2], and sulphoapatite [3Ca3(PO4)2.CaSO4].

 

Chip off a peice and use,guess its spectroscopy, see what you have.

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
2 hours ago, ConnorR said:

This is the response I got:Screenshot_339.png.dbf5273253b801ca7642b933f918c5cf.png

Thoughts?

 

Sounds anecdotal to me, and nothing of an argument to prove the piece's authenticity. Rather sound like a plea intended for you to change your mind, so that they won't need to refund...

 

Also, I've read that there's a lot of gypsum in these phosphates (which would make sense, as gypsum is also often used as fertiliser) and, therefore, believe this to be the replacement mineral these fossils are primarily made of (of course there could be admixture). In my opinion this matches both the colour and fractural properties of these fossils nicely, whereas a quick scan of those apatite-minerals mentioned above suggests these would result in different colours (with the possible exception of hydroxyapatite). I am, however, not aware of an official study into the mineral composition of these fossils...

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LordTrilobite
3 hours ago, ConnorR said:

This is the response I got:Screenshot_339.png.dbf5273253b801ca7642b933f918c5cf.png

Thoughts?

I call bull.

It's possible that perhaps some small part of this specimens is a real claw fragment. But much of this piece is absolutely not part of a real claw. The anatomy isn't even correct.


Pay close attention to their wording tho. They say "had to be restored" and "an unrestored claw". That's a word generally used when missing pieces are constructed. If a real claw was just broken in a few pieces I think it's more likely they'd use the word "repaired". Who knows, maybe there is a small part that is actually part of a claw and that's what they are talking about so that they are technically not lying but it would still be a gross characterization of the truth, which is that this claw is pretty much garbage. This would be a fun learning object for a few bucks. But no more.

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ConnorR
8 minutes ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

 

Sounds anecdotal to me, and nothing of an argument to prove the piece's authenticity. Rather sound like a plea intended for you to change your mind, so that they won't need to refund...

 

 

1 minute ago, LordTrilobite said:

I call .

It's possible that perhaps some small part of this specimens is a real claw fragment. But much of this piece is absolutely not part of a real claw. The anatomy isn't even correct.


Pay close attention to their wording tho. They say "had to be restored" and "an unrestored claw". That's a word generally used when missing pieces are constructed. If a real claw was just broken in a few pieces I think it's more likely they'd use the word "repaired". Who knows, maybe there is a small part that is actually part of a claw and that's what they are talking about so that they are technically not lying but it would still be a gross characterization of the truth, which is that this claw is pretty much garbage. This would be a fun learning object for 5 bucks. But no more.

 

I agree. I never want to accuse someone of lying, or assume the worst about anyone. But "x-rayed by real paleontologist" is one of the more BS things I've ever heard. I would have been more forgiving if they were just ignorant. But now I don't think I want to do business with them again, just for telling me such a dumb lie.

 

30 minutes ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

Also, I've read that there's a lot of gypsum in these phosphates (which would make sense, as gypsum is also often used as fertiliser) and, therefore, believe this to be the replacement mineral these fossils are primarily made of (of course there could be admixture). In my opinion this matches both the colour and fractural properties of these fossils nicely, whereas a quick scan of those apatite-minerals mentioned above suggests these would result in different colours (with the possible exception of hydroxyapatite). I am, however, not aware of an official study into the mineral composition of these fossils...

 

I think you've got it. That roughly matches the color, hardness, porosity, density, and even the smell. I think that's why I suspected this of being made of plaster. Because, in a sense, it is!

So if you're right, then what I would have is a naturally formed plaster cast. Fascinating!

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Something of note - they never said what university in Morocco.

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Troodon

BS what else can he say...

Real claws of this size are  5 figures

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ConnorR
Posted (edited)
On 3/5/2022 at 2:05 PM, Troodon said:

Not necessarily there are a lot out there that look similar including the matrix.  You cannot assume they are from the same animal.

By the way, this is a photo of the other specimen. The state of preservation is remarkably, perhaps conspicuously, similar...

s-l500.jpg.92910b0c137d3a4abe62891fec599b7b.jpg

Edited by ConnorR
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Troodon

If you walk through a Moroccan tent at the Tucson fossil show these slabs are quite common and all have similar preservation

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LordTrilobite
6 hours ago, ConnorR said:

By the way, this is a photo of the other specimen. The state of preservation is remarkably, perhaps conspicuously, similar...

s-l500.jpg.92910b0c137d3a4abe62891fec599b7b.jpg

Again sea-going reptile verts. This is from the phosphate beds, not Kem Kem.

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Phos_01

Awtch , hopefully you can get all your money back on the claws. Just saw this now, they are completely fake.

The good thing about this forum, if you spend some time here, you will learn what is real and what not , and it takes allot of time getting a good and real fossil once

 

goodluck! 

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ConnorR
9 hours ago, LordTrilobite said:

Again sea-going reptile verts. This is from the phosphate beds, not Kem Kem.

I know. According to my research, it's probably a Zarafasaura. What I meant is that they're in a very similar state of preservation to the verts I collected. That's why I suspected they might belong to the same specimen.

 

7 hours ago, Phos_01 said:

Awtch , hopefully you can get all your money back on the claws. Just saw this now, they are completely fake.

The good thing about this forum, if you spend some time here, you will learn what is real and what not , and it takes allot of time getting a good and real fossil once

 

goodluck! 

Thanks. The return has already been accepted and I've sent it on its way back. Hopefully my money is back by next week!

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LordTrilobite
42 minutes ago, ConnorR said:

I know. According to my research, it's probably a Zarafasaura. What I meant is that they're in a very similar state of preservation to the verts I collected. That's why I suspected they might belong to the same specimen.

Nah there's hundreds of similar ones on the market. Unless you can find some broken area that exactly matches there's no reason to think the two pieces belong together. (Although this actually happened to me once. I bought two parts of a mosasaur jaw from the same seller at different times and it turned out to be from the same jaw.)

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On 3/6/2022 at 12:26 PM, ConnorR said:

This is the response I got:Screenshot_339.png.dbf5273253b801ca7642b933f918c5cf.png

Thoughts?

 

@ConnorR, Please keep this conversation focused on the fossils.  We do not like to entertain discussions about seller's responses, policies, or history.  This is outlined in the guidelines of this sub forum and our general guidelines.  Your help would be appreciated.  Thanks.  ;)

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