The “dinosaur bones” that you see on display at the Museum aren’t really bones at all. Through the process of fossilization, ancient animal bones are turned into rock. 

Most ancient animals never became fossils. Their carcasses were likely consumed by other organisms, or worn away by wind or water. But sometimes the conditions were right and their remains were preserved. The most common process of fossilization happens when an animal is buried by sediment, such as sand or silt, shortly after it dies. Its bones are protected from rotting by layers of sediment. As its body decomposes all the fleshy parts wear away and only the hard parts, like bones, teeth, and horns, are left behind. Over millions of years, water in the nearby rocks surrounds these hard parts, and minerals in the water replace them, bit by bit. When the minerals have completely replaced the organic tissue, what’s left is a solid rock copy of the original specimen.

Learn more on the Museum’s Dinosaur website

Exceptional Koneprusia Trilobite - 1.6" long

This is a large, and exceptionally nice specimen of  Koneprusia dahmani trilobite quarried from the Timrhanrhart Formation near Foum Zguid, Morocco.  It differs from the more commonly seen Koneprusia brutoni by having a pair of spines coming off the first two axial rings as opposed to a single spine.  

Preparing a trilobite like this requires dozens of hours of highly skilled work to remove the hard limestone from surrounding in layer by layer using airscribes and air abrasives, typically under high magnification.  This specimen is very well prepared with many bumps coming off of the primary spines.

For sale at: https://www.fossilera.com/fossils/exceptional-koneprusia-trilobite-1-6-long

You can find hexagonally-patterned rocks in Petoskey, MI, that are actually fossilized corallites. Petoskey stones were formed during a prehistoric ice age that scattered them to the shores of Lake Michigan. The dark spots were the coral’s mouths, and the tiny lines were tentacles that reached out for food. Source Source 2 Source 3

Excellent 2.75", Short-Trident Walliserops Trilobite

This is a excellent Walliserops trilobite quarried at Foum Zguid, Morocco. It is a short-forked variety and might be classified as Walliserops hammi, but the fork is slightly longer than the described examples. There are so many varients that have been found in recent years it’s hard to keep track of them all.

It’s quite large at 2.75" long and the preparation is very nice. There are nearly 40 free standing spines and the eye facets are very nice in both eyes. No restoration beyond some shell touchups.

For sale at: https://www.fossilera.com/fossils/excellent-2-75-short-trident-walliserops-trilobite

Awesome Megafauna Skulls!

My last weird and awesome skull post was really popular, so I decided to do one about something else I’m excessively interested in: Megafauna! This isn’t at all a comprehensive list of the coolest ones, not by a long shot, so you should definitely look up some of the BBC docs on Youtube or google ones from your continent!

The cave bear! (N. America)

‘Hell Pigs’ (N. America) Actually entelodonts, unrelated to pigs at all and more closely tied to hippos and cetaceans! Dat sagittal crest amirite

The Stag Moose  @allosauroid brought to my attention that this is the skull of the Irish elk, Megaloceros, not a stag moose! (Eurasia) Which stood 6 foot at the shoulder/withers

Platybelodon (widespread) Google artist renditions of these guys, you won’t be disappointed

Barbourofelis! (N. America) Like a smaller smilodon, with much cooler teeth. Look at those incisors!

Megatherium (S. America) Primitive sloths the size of elephants!

Titanus Walleri (N. America) Other continents had equally large if not larger ‘terror birds’

Paraceratherium (Eurasia) One of the largest terrestrial mammals we’ve ever discovered. It was actually a species of hornless rhino! Google artist recs of these guys, too

Diprotodon (Australia) The largest known marsupial, which was the size of a hippopotamus and stood 6 feet tall

I saved Glyptodon (S. America) for last, because these things have some of the weirdest skulls I’ve ever seen. They were technically armadillos, but reached the size of a Volkswagen Beetle!

George Washington didn’t know dinosaurs existed, but he probably thought giants were real. America’s first president died in 1799, and science didn’t prove the existence of dinosaurs until 1841. Before then, fossilized dino bones were often thought to belong to an extinct race of giant humans. Source Source 2