Reply To: Fossil Fakes, Enhancements, and Marriages

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Jack Kallmeyer

@egardner, @lcone, @lmccall, @cferrara, @jbauer  I hope people get to see the content here.  I finally have images for a fossil that inspired me to request this forum: Saccocoma pectinata from Solenhofen.  It is almost impossible to find unaltered examples of this pelagic crinoid at shows.  In real life, it is very difficult to see the crinoid arms.  The enhanced versions for sale everywhere now have been “improved” by an artist carefully drawing on top of the arms and pinnules with a sepia colored pen. The pen lines are much broader than the actual features of the crinoid.  Furthermore, without strong side lighting, it is difficult to tell if the arms are really there or just drawn on a piece of Solenhofen matrix. Most of the enhanced specimens have the arms nicely splayed out with extended pinnules in a fairly symmetrical radial pattern as well.  The arms are coiled nicely at the ends.  Since the crinoid cup is small and fairly smooth, I can see an enterprising person quickly carving a bump in bare matrix and drawing on the rest in sepia pen.

Attached are a photo from the internet of an enhanced example plus a real one as found.  Note that the real one has arms in all kinds of strange orientations and seeing them and the pinnules is not easy.  The photo of the real one has been taken with very strong side lighting to make the features visible.  The arms and pinnules are very thin – much thinner than the sepia drawn version.

From a marketing standpoint, the real unaltered versions are not all that impressive so I can see why suppliers are “improving” the specimens.

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