What makes something scary, creepy, terrifying, or just so strange that it haunts our dreams? For some, all it takes is a spider or a snake; for others it needs to be an eldritch horror straight from H.P Lovecraft’s world. Many of the more famous prehistoric beasts gained notoriety because there’s something about them, be it the size of their teeth, that they’re covered in spikes, or their sheer size, that elicits a primeval sense of dread in our mammalian brains. Hopefully somewhere in this article is a creature that sends a bone chilling tingle up your spine; one that you’re glad went extinct. Now it can only haunt you in your dreams.
This 33 foot long armored fish from the Devonian era lacked teeth, but its jaw contained razor sharp protrusions of bone that it could use to pierce and cut through its prey. These bones grew continuously and as they did, the edges rubbed together with those of the opposing jaw, acting like self sharpening shears. This would ensure the “fangs” were always ready to chomp into armored prey like arthropods, ammonites and other fish. This four ton monster fish patrolled inshore waters and could snatch prey up by opening and closing its jaws within 50-60 milliseconds.
We just received a number of fossil Tyrannosaur (T-Rex & Nanotyrannus) teeth from the Hell Creek Formation of South Dakota. Tyrannosaurid teeth are typically are one of the fastest selling fossils we have and because of their collectability are hard for us to acquire.
These teeth come from a private quarry in Butte County, South Dakota operated by PaleoAdventures known as the “Tooth Draw Quarry” This quarry is known as the “Tooth Draw Quarry” and is renowned for having produced many high quality dinosaur teeth over the past several decades. In the Late Cretaceous some 65 million years ago, this quarry was located in a sub-tropical floodplain that would have been similar to modern day coastal Louisiana. It consists of 2 meters of alternating sandstone and gravel, representing a river channel lag deposit. This means that it doesn’t produce articulated dinosaur remains but is a good location to find teeth.
It's always interesting to be able to show the work that goes into a well prepared fossil specimen. Actually collecting the fossils is often the easier and less time consuming part than the preparation. This is a beautiful preparation sequence of a Metacanthina issoumourensis trilobite quarried near Lghaft, Morocco. Preparation and photos by Alex Žagar.
The trilobites are found within a hard limestone by breaking the rock into progressively smaller pieces and looking for thin cross-sections. This is backbreaking work, but once the trilobite back in the preparation lab the detailed work begins. The rock must be meticulously removed from around the trilobites under magnification using airscribes and air abrasives. It takes many hours to prepare even some of the less ornate trilobites.
Sometimes we get rather interesting questions through the contact for at FossilEra. One person wondered who we thought would win in a hypothetical fight between two of the top, prehistoric marine predators, Megalodon and the Mosasaurus. So here goes..
Mosasaurus hoffmanni vs. Carcharocles megalodon
Much like the heated debates that plague comic book shops around the world of Batman vs. Superman, Hulk vs. Wolverine, Iron man vs. Batman, the Justice League vs. The Avengers, or any other plethora of battle combinations, paleontology nerds have arguments very similar just for the fun of it. Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Spinosaurus is a common match and was fun to watch in Jurassic Park III, but this post will be focused on two of the largest predators of the sea, Mosasaurus hoffmanni vs. Carcharocles megalodon.
Just in time for Easter we've partnered with a local chocolate company create a giant, chocolate Megalodon teeth. We create these molds off of a real Megalodon tooth, and have these tasty treats in milk, dark and white chocolate. Each chocolate megalodon tooth is handmade and individually packaged. Bite them before they bite you...
Every few days I get blanket statements in the comments on my blog or Facebook posts like this one.
"You should not buy or sell scientific /archeological artifacts. It is amazingly destructive to human knowledge."
Never mind, the post being commented on and FossilEra has nothing to do with archeology, but rather fossils (paleontology). To put some context the statement, it was made on a past about this Huntonia trilobite collected at Black Cat Mountain in Oklahoma.
The Black Cat Mountain material of a perfect example of where commercial interest has heavily benefitted science, human knowledge and education. Read more...
After operating out of my house for much of our first year, FossilEra is now getting moved into it's new warehouse space. We had outgrown my house several months ago, to the point where I was moving furnature into a storage unit to clear space for more inventory. Unfortunately, the search for nearby warehouse space took much longer than anticipated thanks to the booming wine tasting room, brewery, micro-distiller industry in the area hogging it all. We stiill have a prep lab to build out, but we're finally up and shipping from the warhouse.
The horned Triceratops may be one of the most iconic dinosaurs in the world. Any kid who is infatuated with dinosaurs will instantly be able to recognize a picture of Triceratops. Fossilized teeth from this dinosaur also represent one of the most commercially available and affordable types of dinosaur teeth that can be purchased. A few reasons for this:
1. Triceratops was a herding dinosaur and there were lots of them. Think Buffalo on Serengeti (or North American plains two centuries ago for that matter) but 66 million years ago.
2. There had lots of teeth, up to 800 in their jaws at a single time.
3. They shed their teeth frequently as they became worn from grinding the coarse plant material that they ate.
4. Compared to bones, teeth are much less delicate so are more likely to be fossilized.
Update: As with our first Fossils For Teachers giveaway we reached our maximum of 200 requests from teachers within 24 hours. We're in the process packing and shipping these 200 fossils. Check back at the start of February for more fossils.
Back in November we announced our "Free Fossils For Teachers" program were we will be making fossils specimens available to teachers and educators free of charge on a monthly basis. It was met with a resounding response as we filled out quota of 100 requests for November within 24 hours. Unfortunately, we had to skip doing this program in December as we got overwelmed with the rush of holiday orders.
But it's back now in January as we have 200 Ammonite Fossils that will will be shipping to teachers free of charge. If you are a teacher or other educator and want to receive a free ammonite for use in the classroom use our Request Form.
- These fossils are for teaching/educational purposes and we only have a limited quantity. For verification we REQUIRE that these fossils be shipped to a school address or address for an educational program.
- We only will have limited quantities each month, first come, first serve.
- Only one request per person.
- Due to shipping costs, we can only ship these free within the United States. In the future we may find a way to offer this outside of the country but it's just not logistically possible right now.
Ok, I'm being a little torturous here but I have a very spectacular trilobite specimen that will be posted on FossilEra soon. I'm going to post the preparation sequence to this trilobite one photo at a time throughout the day. This amazing specimen is now listed for sale, Breathtaking Boedaspis Trilobite With Prep Sequence!
Here is the first photo of the trilobite found in cross section being glued back together.
If you want to get a feel of what it is like digging for dinosaur fossils, here's a good video clip from PaleoAdventures collected at the "Tooth Draw Quarry" in South Dakota. Besides being one of our primary suppliers of Hell Creek Formation dinosaur material, PaleoAdventures runs a lot of great dig tours and educational programs.
Update: This seems to have gone viral on Facebook/Twitter and we hit our 100 requests for free educational fossils for the month within several hours. Depending on how much time it takes to ship these and if we can source similar material at a decent price we will increase the amount later this month. If not check back at the start of December and we will have a different type of fossil available and hopefully in larger quantities.
I have always believed that fossils and paleontology are a gateway for many kids to become interested in science. There is nothing more awe inspiring than to hold a real fossil in your hand and to be able to imagine what it was millions of years ago. Seeing a photo on the Internet or in a book just doesn’t have the same allure and visceral appeal to a young kid.
To that end, we are please to announce our “fossils for teachers” program to make available free fossil specimens for educational purposes monthly. Due to constraints, both monetarily and the time/cost it takes to ship them, we are only be able to make available a limited quantity each month on a first come, first serve basis. We will start with making available 100 specimens this month (November, 2014) and hopefully can expand it in future months.
This month we are going to be providing fossil Megalodon teeth, along with informational materials both on fossils, Megalodon and the specific teeth. Nothing is more awe inspiring to a kid than a real tooth of a prehistoric shark that grew in excess of 50 feet in length.
If you are a teacher or other educator and want to receive a free Megalodon tooth for use in the classroom use our Request Form.
We recently received a large shipment of stunning Late Cretaceous ammonite fossils from the Fox Hills and Pierre Shale Formations of South Dakota. Ammonites are an extinct type of cephalopods, often with coiled shells that died out at the end of the Cretaceous period, some 65 million years ago.
Approximately 70 million years ago, much of what is now central North America was covered by an inland sea known as the Western Interior Seaway. This seaway divided the continent into two land masses stretching from the Gulf of Mexico through to the Arctic Ocean. Many large marine reptiles such as Mosasaurs inhabited this sea as well as a very diverse fauna of ammonites.
One new arrival is an unusual Pliomera trilobite from the Huk Formation near Oslo Norway. These Ordovician trilobites are typically known from Russia but the material from Norway has a dark black shell. It also is found in MUCH harder limestone so the preparation is more intensive and time consuming. Below is a preparation sequence for the trilobite using airscribes and finally air abrasives to remove some final matrix from in between the segments. This trilobite can be found for sale here.