At the Denver Mineral, Fossil, Gem and Jewelry Show in September, I found everything related to dinosaurs, from the fossilized plants and fishes they ate, to the end product of their digestion.
Entire skeletons were amazing, whether they were assembled from fossilized bones, or from casts, as were the full-sized specimens on display by the Morrison Museum.
I was intrigued by the do-it-yourself fossils offered by Oreodont Fossils. Jim Ackerman is a geologist and paleontologist from South Dakota. He had on display items as they appear freshly dug up in the field. Wrapped in newspaper and bound with black electrical tape (photo below), Jim had a good idea of what could be found inside. Although most looked like lumps of dirt to me, perhaps with a bit of bone or a tooth showing, a budding paleontologist could “excavate” the treasure. Jim took the time to explain to me some of the how and where of fossil discovery.
I did not expect to see the large variety of fossilized plants, fish, and insects on display at the show. This palm frond was offered as "Geo Decor," and had a price tag of $65,000. I might have one wall in my house large enough to display this fossil, but not the budget!
Because it is mentioned several times in my novel Stone Cold Dead, I was hoping to find an affordable sample of coprolite. The humor abounded as the vendor and I made tasteless quips about purchasing fossilized dinosaur poop.
Another customer, with no interest in spending good money on fossilized feces, asked how a person could be certain the samples were actual dinosaur poop. The vendor said her source traveled the world in search of coprolite, and that it can be tested to verify authenticity.
Since then, I have learned that coprolite is serious business. A July 29, 2014 article in the National Geographic online magazine describes a case of a poop impostor in the article Was Six-Million-Year-Old Turd Auctioned for $10,000 a Faux Poo? You can read the article at this link: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/07/140729-dinosaur-coprolite-paleontology-dung-fossil-auction/
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