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DanThe2nd

Oviraptor Fossilized Eggs

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DanThe2nd

I am interested in learning more about dinosaur fossils. (Fossilized eggs in particular)
I was at a recent Mineral/fossil show and saw fossilized oviraptor eggs from Xiaxia, China.

(Didn't know they existed and were so well preserved)

How can you tell if they are the real deal? any tell tail signs? (are the eggs below the real deal?)

Also is Xiaxia, China a place where oviraptor eggs are found?
(If not where would these of been found?)

What is fair price for the Fossilized eggs pictured below? (I thought his price seemed high)

Thank you greatly.

-Dan

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Edited by DanThe2nd

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DanThe2nd

Please see above.

Edited by DanThe2nd

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jpc

If they are real, that is a reasonable price... I think. But how to tell if they are real...?

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Troodon

Dinosaur eggs can be found on all continents and that locality in China is well recognized for their eggs. Species identification of eggs needs to be left to the professionals and those sold at shows are most likely misrepresented but they can be real. One needs to be very careful about those from China since they are often faked and they do a very good job at it. My suggestion is that if you do not have a knowledgeable person with you do not purchase it or it needs to be from seller who is an expert on eggs. Its difficult to tell from your photo if its real, partially restored or the eggs have been consolidated into one matrix block.

If you are interested in dinosaur eggs there are a number of books you can purchase including Carpenters "Dinosaur Eggs and Babies" which is a good book on this topic.

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Down under fossil hunter

Dinosaur eggs can be found on all continents and that locality in China is well recognized for their eggs. Species identification of eggs needs to be left to the professionals and those sold at shows are most likely misrepresented but they can be real. One needs to be very careful about those from China since they are often faked and they do a very good job at it. My suggestion is that if you do not have a knowledgeable person with you do not purchase it or it needs to be from seller who is an expert on eggs. Its difficult to tell from your photo if its real, partially restored or the eggs have been consolidated into one matrix block.

If you are interested in dinosaur eggs there are a number of books you can purchase including Carpenters "Dinosaur Eggs and Babies" which is a good book on this topic.

Well said, those eggs are either really good or really fake.

There are people in the states who prep dinosaur eggs and have a pretty good reputation, if you don't have any plans to research a lot about dinosaur fossils then they are another option.

My advice would be, unless you are a somewhat advanced collector avoid picking up dinosaur eggs at shows.

Many neophyte collectors have a dino egg as one of the first items on their 'list of fossils to obtain' and for good reason, who wouldn't want a perfect 3d dino egg to show to friends and family.

The trouble is unscrupulous dealers know this and understand that there is a lot of money in fabricating these fossils including taking an egg-shaped piece of matrix and gluing tiny pieces of shell to it so it seems like a beautiful complete egg worth thousands of dollars.

Be careful or you might end up the proud owner of a very expensive rock.

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DanThe2nd

Well said, those eggs are either really good or really fake.

There are people in the states who prep dinosaur eggs and have a pretty good reputation, if you don't have any plans to research a lot about dinosaur fossils then they are another option.

My advice would be, unless you are a somewhat advanced collector avoid picking up dinosaur eggs at shows.

Many neophyte collectors have a dino egg as one of the first items on their 'list of fossils to obtain' and for good reason, who wouldn't want a perfect 3d dino egg to show to friends and family.

The trouble is unscrupulous dealers know this and understand that there is a lot of money in fabricating these fossils including taking an egg-shaped piece of matrix and gluing tiny pieces of shell to it so it seems like a beautiful complete egg worth thousands of dollars.

Be careful or you might end up the proud owner of a very expensive rock.

I have more pictures, would this help at the very least, autheticating them as dino eggs? (If so what areas do you need pictures of?)

The dealer who had the eggs, said that they were diped in a solution because the matrix was crumbling apart.

Also, it would seem unlikly that pieces of other eggs where glued together, because the fits on this egg are too perfect.

If I came across a good deal and purchased eggs, where could I get them autheticated?

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Canadawest

Good grief.

The answer to everything is 'no'.

They are fake and if they were real there is NOBODY who would know they were real. No photo, no 'expert'. They could be given an MRI and compared to what? Other so called eggs that nobody knows are real or fake.

Phil Currie the word's leading theropod palaeontologist was fooled by a fake fossil. I've collected a few thousand Dino fossils and could still be fooled by a fake. There is no photo angle, expert, test, etc. If you didn't find find an egg yourself and it is from China, it is a fake.

'The dealer who had the eggs said....' He knows this because what exactly? These fake fossils get into circulation and passed around. Traded. Resold. Eggs, claws, etc. Bottom line... Except for a few common items such as Spinosaurus teeth or Hadrosaur vertebrae, do not buy Dino material. 90% of Dino specimens on EBay are Not as labeled for whatever reason. Dino specimens sold by the leading Internet dealers are almost as bad.

Edited by Northstar

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DanThe2nd

Good grief.

The answer to everything is 'no'.

They are fake and if they were real there is NOBODY who would know they were real. No photo, no 'expert'. They could be given an MRI and compared to what? Other so called eggs that nobody knows are real or fake.

Phil Currie the word's leading theropod palaeontologist was fooled by a fake fossil. I've collected a few thousand Dino fossils and could still be fooled by a fake. There is no photo angle, expert, test, etc. If you didn't find find an egg yourself and it is from China, it is a fake.

'The dealer who had the eggs said....' He knows this because what exactly? These fake fossils get into circulation and passed around. Traded. Resold. Eggs, claws, etc. Bottom line... Except for a few common items such as Spinosaurus teeth or Hadrosaur vertebrae, do not buy Dino material. 90% of Dino specimens on EBay are Not as labeled for whatever reason. Dino specimens sold by the leading Internet dealers are almost as bad.

So in other words you can not say in 100% certainty that the above pictured are fake.

I appreciate your concern and I understand that the chinese fake everything. But I believe there are ways to tell a fake from a real, other than diging it up yourself.

Edited by DanThe2nd

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Regg Cato

Analyzing the microstructure of the eggshell might allow you to identify an egg at the oogeneric level (see Carpenter's book cited above for some good pictures of what this looks like). Tentatively I'd say these are likely Longiteresoolithus xiaxiaensis based on "macromorphology" and suggested provenance, and though I cannot comment on the authenticity of the specimens, I would be inclined to agree with Northstar's comments and experience.

Is that a primate skull on the right? Without a scale for size comparison my initial reaction is they're kind of large for Oviraptorid eggs.

In short though, I'd say save your money.

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Scylla

I thought it was illegal to transport these out of China? (unless they are fake, then I guess it would be OK) I don't think an MRI would be the best test for a fossil, a CT would give better data.

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Canadawest

Dan, please advise of this method? The Tyrell Museum examined eggs in various museum collections and after radiological methods could still only confirm only that 1in 5 'might' be eggs.

I assume that you did not buy this specimen. best not to perpetuates the circulation of fakes.

As for the specimen you show. Yes I am 100% certain it is fake. You can go on line to a Chinese trading company and order one similar for peanuts....and they'll probably toss in a Rolex and Gucci Bag.

I collect guitars. A Fender Stratocaster has about 140 parts. A Fake Chinese one is just about indistinguishable from the real thing. Each piece precisely machined. a fake egg in comparison is no sweat....what are you going to compare it to?

One of the most prestigious science association, the AAAS, has warned that even 80% of vertebrate fossils in CHINESE museums, are not legitimate...altered, fake, etc.

Bottom line...do not buy Dino eggs or claws...double so if from China.

Edited by Northstar

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steelhead9

I have to disagree with Northstar. I have prepped many of these oviraptor eggs. All the signs ( crack lines, egg texture, matrix, etc) are indicative of genuine oviraptor eggs. These are not uncommon and have come out of China by the thousands in the last several decades. In addition, the eggs are shown next to a fossil Chinese mammal skull that certainly is real. Another sign that the dealer has access to genuine Chinese fossils. It is a common fallacy that fake Chinese fossils are hard to distinguish from real ones. Most fakes are quite obvious.

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Carcharodontosaurus

These could be real, or these could also be realistic casts of eggs being resold as the real deal. If I wanted a fossil dinosaur egg, I would look for an unprepped specimen, just to be sure. Then I would send it to a fossil prepper after buying it.

And I strongly disagree with Northstar. There are legitimate dealers of dinosaur material out there. I don't intend to point fingers at anyone, but Northstar does appear to support banning of commercial collecting, so he may have a personal bias against the dino fossil trade.

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Troodon

Let me add to my earlier comments that there a lot of genuine dinosaur eggs on the market from China. My caution is that one needs to be weary of fakes or reconstructed eggs on the market and what may be obvious to an experienced collector may not to a newbe. I'm a very experienced collector and have seen some good casts at the Tucson show. Another common practice is to bundle several eggs onto the matrix and sell them as a partial nest or piece two eggs together to make one. I am uncomfortable to draw conclusions from photo's since they always do not show the fine detail of what's going on with that specimen.

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DanThe2nd

First and foremost thank you for all the responses, I still need your help. and I may or may not of made a mistake buying these. I went back to the show and ended up making a deal with the dealer. For this reason, and because of many of the posts, I have taken pictures of suspect areas. again thank you. Help me figure out if I need to try to return these.

Please take a look at the new pictures I will upload.

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DanThe2nd

more pictures

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DanThe2nd

continued

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DanThe2nd

continued

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DanThe2nd

Last bunch. thank you again.

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Regg Cato

I would also point out that, barring some taphonomic displacement, the fact there are three eggs together in the arrangement that they are is also a little suspicious. A number of dinosaur species had paired oviducts, and laid two eggs at a time in a pair. The arrangement of these eggs is not the way they would have been laid.

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piranha

I have to disagree with Northstar. I have prepped many of these oviraptor eggs. All the signs ( crack lines, egg texture, matrix, etc) are indicative of genuine oviraptor eggs. These are not uncommon and have come out of China by the thousands in the last several decades. In addition, the eggs are shown next to a fossil Chinese mammal skull that certainly is real. Another sign that the dealer has access to genuine Chinese fossils. It is a common fallacy that fake Chinese fossils are hard to distinguish from real ones. Most fakes are quite obvious.

I'm in agreement with Steelhead as the eggs certainly look authentic to me as well.

If it's a replica cast it can easily be detected by a simple inconspicuous scratch test.

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siteseer

I don't know a lot about dinosaur nests, but I do know that where they find them, they find thousands of eggshell pieces. If someone found about half an egg, that same someone might be tempted to try to puzzle together the rest of it from random pieces if that was a way to make a lot more money than a year;s worth of his regular job. You could shave a number of pieces to size and shape once you had most of it.

If I were you, I would inspect each egg from end to end looking for an unnatural-looking break in the eggshell texture wherever there is a crack. Some of the "shell" might be artificially-textured pieces of putty. I would be suspicious of a thin white border all around where the egg meets the matrix. That could just be glue added to help keep the egg on the matrix or it could be glue added just before the egg was attached to the matrix. Some preparators make a paste out of a mixture of glue and matrix and sculpt it around a specimen to make it look nice and then soak a little more glue on it afterward.

I would ask myself why one of the eggs looks pretty rough but the two next to it are nicely inflated-looking. All three were subjected to the same crushing force of the overlying sediments yet one egg is misshapen and the other two were distorted only to the point of cracking in an attractive manner.

The ultimate test would be to dig gently under and away from the two nice-looking eggs and see if the contour of the egg continues into the matrix. I assume the matrix has been soaked in a cyanoacrylate glue so you need to soften it by dripping acetone on it using a suitable eyedropper or bottle. If the eggshell stops just below the matrix, you have an artful prep job rather than a real egg. If it's real, you can push the matrix back and smoothe it back over

This goes back to what Troodon said about educating yourself. You need to learn things like how thick the eggshell should be on that form of egg and if the texturing changes from end to end. Buy the book he suggested and read it. There's never a dinosaur egg expert around when you need one so you should try to be your own expert.

I have more pictures, would this help at the very least, autheticating them as dino eggs? (If so what areas do you need pictures of?)

The dealer who had the eggs, said that they were diped in a solution because the matrix was crumbling apart.

Also, it would seem unlikly that pieces of other eggs where glued together, because the fits on this egg are too perfect.

If I came across a good deal and purchased eggs, where could I get them autheticated?

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steelhead9

Oviraptors did lay their eggs in pairs, but this is just a small piece of a nest and the number of eggs is insignificant. A full nest would be a circle of eggs three layers deep. If you look closely at the matrix right next to the egg you will see a thin layer of white matrix between the egg and the red matrix. This is typical of a genuine dinosaur egg and would most likely be overlooked in a fake cast. In my opinion you can rest assured you have an original fossil partial dinosaur egg nest.

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DanThe2nd

Thank you all very much.

Please continue to write your comments.

I will update you as I examine the eggs and perform scratch tests and remove some of the matrix to check for egg shell extention.

Note: Post with pictures #17:

Ttake a close look at the shell textures, the one piece in the middle seems to be more deeply groved, is this a corncern?

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Geo_guy

I'd recommend that prior to any form of destructive means of investigation such as removing matrix from around the egg or scratch tests on the surface, there are a few other diagnostic measures I might recommend. First, if you own a 10x geologist (or jewler's) loup, look closely at the texture of various parts of the shell to look for consistency as well as inconsistency. I'd recommend that you specifically look at where the eg meets the matrix and look at the matrix itself. Compare each of these areas separately over the entire specimen and look for signs of obvious fabrication. Specifically when looking at the matrix, more effort is typically placed into producing a authentic appearance on the exposed surface rather than on the underside sitting on your bookcase or desk, so compare the matrix surface on the underside to that next to the eggs to see if it is consistent.

You may also consider using ultraviolet light to observe the fossil. Natural authentic materials will often exhibit flouresence properties. Fabricated specimens composed of plaster, resins, or other casting medium will not. You can use that old college blacklight poster light -- many are often 10 to 20 watt longwave UV lights (~365 nm wavelength). If the fossil exhibits flouresence of varying tonalities and colors, it is most likely indicative of glued shell fragments originating from various provinences.

If you do elect to dig into your newly purchased fossil, I would recommend starting on the underside (non-visible portion) to conceal any damage you may inadvertently cause. If you do not have a set of dental picks, you can use an xacto knife, or even a paper clip or thumb tack (although realize, in appropriate tools will most likely result in undesirable results). Most matrix that is faked will either be a painted surface, or if a higher-quality reproduction, may be dyed throughout the entire infil materials. Texturally, if the matrix is composed of sandy materials, the particles should look like sand. If the matrix looks instead like a fine powder with the occasional odd sand grain, then in is possible it is not authentic. Nail polish remover (acetone) on a q-tip can be a gentle means to test a surface to detect if it is painted -- just make sure to test an area that is not visible.

As you continue to inspect your investment, you will gain experience in examining fossils (even if this is the first oe you are really looking at). If you continued to be concerned, you can bring your fossil to another fossil dealer for their opinion (most will not authenticate anything they have not sold themselves) or to a local college geology department for their opinion.

Make notes of your observations and even consider taking photographs under the UV lamp. If you indeed attempt to approach the seller to return the item, be prepared to defend your reasoning. Most dealers do not like to accept returned merchandise, since many work on a small profit margin.

Finally, if by some chance you purchased a fake fossil and used your credit card as a form of payment, some credit cards may back the purchase if you can defend that you were sold a fake specimen as real.

Please keep the forum informed how you make out. Your experience will help to educate others!

Best of luck --

Edited by Geo_guy

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