Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
AJ Plai

How To Spot Fake Dinosaur Claws?

Recommended Posts

AJ Plai

Dinosaur claws are probably one of the most expensive dinosaur fossils you can find since it's much rarer than teeth, and no doubt, many if not all dinosaur collectors would probably like to have at least one in their collections. Dinosaur claws also seem to have many fakes and replicas floating around due to its impressiveness and rarity.

Its probably easy enough to distinguish the resin or plastic replica from real ones with simple observation, handling to get a feel of a specimen's weight and hardness or test like hot needle to see if it melts or not. Plus, so far I haven't seen any dealers, reputable or not, have tried to sell replica as real, perhaps because its very easy to tell the resin/plastic replica from the natural rock/bone fossils.

Though, I have also heard that there are ways to fake these from carving a fake claw from matrix or even using animal bones like camel to make one. Has anyone had experience with these particular kind of fakes (non-resin replicas)? If so, how would they differ from the real ones and how would you test if they are genuine or not?

Thx :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kolleamm

I have purchased many claws over the years and from experience your best bet would probably be to stay away from the white colored Moroccan claws as some, not all, may have been carved out of genuine dinosaur bone. Other than that just look for an organized structure in the claw and small blood vessels. A solid claw with no internal structure what so ever would make me think twice. Usually the more brittle looking ones tend to be the most genuine. If the claw looks too perfect and without breaks or anything keep your eyes open as it may be too good to be true. Never the less there are genuine specimens out there and I would say the majority are indeed genuine.

Good luck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Canadawest

I 've collected thousands of dino fossils. Several claws. I would NEVER buy a Dino 'claw'.

First. What is a claw..... it is the ungual...the distal phalanx of a pes or manus. It's a bone.

So....every Dino like a dog, croc or other land vertebrates has a bunch of them in different shapes. There's three different ones I collected onthe theropod claw on my logo to the left.

Anyways, You can look at the distal end for shape, outside texture,muscle scars,etc. However, I've seen fakes that I would have a hard time telling from the real thing and I've found lots of the real thing. Also seen claws on non-Dino's passed off or mistaken for Dino's. Unlike a tooth, bones are either in filled or replaced with minerals. One real claw can weigh twice as much as another real claw....also, colour can be different even when found in the same formation ( due to depth of burial, exposure, etc.).

Anyways, be leary of Dino fossils for sale. Even legitimate ones for sale are usually mislabeled. Any Dino fossil that wasn't found in situ with other articulated bones is 'iffy' to ID beyond the family level. If you see a label to a particular genus or genus and species then....? Why this ID?

Buyer be ware and, as I said, I wouldn't even consider buying a Dino claw.

Edited by Northstar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Troodon

I love dinosaur claws and have a passion for them. It's rare that you find replicas sold as real claws. Most of the issues are around the amount of restore and proper identification. Stay away from Moroccan material unless you are holding it and can examine it and do what Kolleamm recommended. Another trick that is done by the Moroccan is to fabricate a claw from pieces of multiple real claws. Usually you can spot this by seeing matrix across a repair seam. The real problem is that most dealers a clueless as to what they have and rely on the seller to tell them what they have. Unfortunately sellers are equally uninformed and are guessing to maximize their financial return. Most isolated claws from formations like the Hell Creek can be identified but you need to become more knowledgeable than the dealer. Here is where knowledge is power and you need to become an expert on claws. Not an easy task but its the only way to know what you are getting.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Adron

you can sting it with a hot needle. If it melts, is it plastic.You can also look for air bubbles from the mixture

Edited by Adron

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
grampa dino

I second what Northstar said

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
AJ Plai

Thx for the replies and the very useful tips and insight guys. :)

How would u be able to distinguish the air bubble holes (like what u would see on fake trilobites) and the genuine porous bone structures, which I presume have similar appearance, correct me if I am wrong. Do they differ from one another quite obviously that you can notice quite easily and how would u detect them from one another?

Are there any pages on the net where you can see comparison of fake and real claws, especially the good fakes like the ones carved from bone? Those are the ones that I haven't seen before and would be great to train my eye from real visual references to get a good feel of how they would look like and what to spot. More importantly, is there a way to tell without advance lab equipment to distinguish and identify a camel bone fake from a real fossil claw?

Anyhow, thx for the info again. :)

Edited by AJ Plai

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kolleamm

You could use a microscope. Bone structure will always have a more organized structure to it. Here's an example of a dinosaur bone.

post-3427-0-21786000-1375941564_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Canadawest

Dino claw are bone but they have different texture from most bones. Think of a Chinese fortune cookie...variable thickness and hollow.

AJ, you have to have a real claw in your hand to compare it with. What is the preservation like in that formation?. What claw is it? Theropod? The odds of finding complete theropod claws are minuscule and the ones with recurved shape extremely rare. Super duper rare. We live in the richest Dino area in the world and ask the Dino collectors here how many of these recurved claws they have found. Yet somehow, miraculously, complete ones are out there for sale.

Anyways, no great task to take scrap Dino bone and make a passable claw. Grandpa Dino could make one up that could fool me and I've got the real thing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
steelhead9

Look for the grain in the claw. If it does not follow the curve of the claw, it is carved from bone.

Edited by steelhead9

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Regg Cato

excellent advice in this thread; it is amazing how many claws are for sale when you consider they're not an overly common fossil. My personal opinion is they're somewhat overrated (rarely contain useful information, and if you have the opportunity to get something else dinosaurian i'd rather go for that). Another thing that makes assessing authenticity difficult is the excellent "preservation" of many claws for sale, such that you'd have to damage the specimen to get a good look at the internal structure (or try the hot needle test). Jurassic Park probably created the market for "raptor" claws...after all everyone wants to own one of those right? :/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
FossilDudeCO

This is some great advice on this thread thanks all!

I am headed to the Denver Fossil and Gem show next month, this info will be useful.

Last year I bet I saw 60 dino claws for sale, I knew they were rarer than teeth, but not that much.

Point being, don't buy a claw ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×