Fossil Fakes, Enhancements, and Marriages

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This topic contains 7 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Jennifer Bauer 2 years, 2 months ago.

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  • #11455

    Eleanor Gardner
    Moderator

    This forum topic thread is for discussion surrounding the production of outright fake fossils, enhancement of real fossils, and combinations (marriages) of different pieces of real fossils.  This forum topic thread is also a place for discussion of repairs and restorations to damaged fossils.

    NOTE: Although it may come up in conversation here among individual participants, please know that the FOSSIL Project does not support or condone the sale of fossils.

    #11456

    Eleanor Gardner
    Moderator

    Here are the first eight forum posts, from when this was a proposed thread in the “Ideas for New Forums” thread.  Please click the image to see it clearly.  Also attached are the images from @jkallmeyer and @lcone as mentioned in the original thread.

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    #25192

    Jack Kallmeyer
    Moderator

    @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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    #25219

    Eleanor Gardner
    Moderator

    Wow, @jkallmeyer, thanks for sharing this side-by-side comparison. In my opinion, the unaltered specimen is much lovelier. The drawn extended pinnules on the altered specimen look especially fake to me. However, I can certainly appreciate that someone else might not be familiar enough to recognize that and be duped. Unrelated, but curious: Have you ever been to the Solenhofen site?

    #25220

    Jennifer Bauer
    Participant

    @jkallmeyer Really cool images and story behind them. I agree with @egardner that the unaltered specimen is much better – the altered one looks fake and kind of like a form of henna but I agree that less trained eyes may not realize this. Very similar to the manganese dendrites that fool a lot of people into thinking they are real fossils, Mark Wilson wrote a good post on his blog (click here) about these pseudofossils (also from Solnhofen!). With proper cleaning, lighting, and probably whitening (or wetting) the specimen would look much better.

    #25306

    Jack Kallmeyer
    Moderator

    @egardner Alas, never been to Solenhofen.  I have only been outside the USA to Canada and Bermuda.  We did just receive a big collection from a deceased member’s estate that includes some Solenhofen material.  I know it has a lot of these crinoids but I haven’t gotten to it yet to see what else might be there.

    #25307

    Jack Kallmeyer
    Moderator

    @jbauer, @egardner  I checked out Mark Wilson’s blog that you mentioned.  Technically…..he is incorrect calling them manganese dendrites.  They are typically referred to the mineral pyrolusite – manganese oxide – in dendrite form.   But! According to Mindat.org none of these dendrites are actually pyrolusite but any of  a number of other manganese oxides https://www.mindat.org/min-26645.html  So, still not manganese but manganese oxides.  Sorry, I know enough about minerals to be dangerous. 🙂

    We did receive some nice examples  of these at Geier in with the donated collection from a deceased member.  I suppose we need to give them to the mineral curator.

    #25608

    Jennifer Bauer
    Participant

    Awesome! Thanks for the correction, ‘manganese oxide’ it is! They are really beautiful and exciting to find, especially when people are convinced the are some type of plant material.

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