It is hard to identify if the trilobites are fakes or not at first glance, as the people wrap up the fakes in the same way as they do the real ones and some shops mix the real and fake ones into one big pile.
They fake them, as it takes about 5 hours to make a fake one, while preparing a real one will take about 100 hours.
Lots of smaller trilobites like Calymenes are broken when found. But in shops, they glue random parts to others, with an intention to make them look compete. But as they want to get through as many as they can as quickly as possible, they do really bad jobs, making them look awful. Some people even do it wrong, and glue the heads on wrong.
Identifying fake Moroccan trilobites
When the fakes are made with plaster or resin, there is normally air bubbles dotted all over the place. If you see little holes on the trilobite of its matrix, you can be pretty sure that you are looking at a fake trilobite. The mini craters are usually half a millimetre in diameter and come about from when bubbles burst at the time of the solidification stage of the plaster or resin.
Lack of cracks in the trilobite usually means it is fake. The rocks in Morocco are extremely hard, so it is almost impossible to get out a trilobite without breaking it. If you cannot see any small crack running through the trilobite or matrix you can assume it is a fake. These cracks are features of genuine trilobites.
Colour differences on the matrix (e.g. the top half of the matrix being a light grey, the bottom half being a light brown) mean that it is a fake. If there are differences in colour and loads of preparation marks on the exterior matrix (lots of preparation marks can hide the small holes), then the trilobite is probably fake, and it is mounted on some real matrix, to make it look more authentic.
Trilobites have extremely detailed textures, just like modern day woodlice. If you look carefully at the specimen, you can normally see the lenses of the eyes if it has eyes that is. But fakes will have very little, if not any detail at all.
The outer shell of the trilobite or exoskeleton of authentic trilobites is extremely hard. While fake trilobites are much softer as they are made with resin or plaster. To test to see how hard it is, you can check it with your teeth. Gently tap it on your tooth. If it feels like a plastic toy, then it is fake, if it is hard like stone, it is most likely genuine.
When you see a plate with many specimens of trilobites on, then there is a good chance it is a fake, as these “large pieces” do not come up very often. This does not mean that you cannot get any real death assemblages, as they do come up every so often, but it is not very natural to get several different species living together. You should also check to see if all the different trilobites lived in the same time era, as sometimes they make these with Devonian trilobites next to Cambrian trilobites. This is called “faked assemblages”.
On spiny trilobites, the faked ones spines are usually made of mini orthoceras stuck on. Look out for the spines being slightly different lengths, as that indicates it is a fake.
To make these trilobites, they get some natural rock and hollow out a section for the trilobite to go it. They make the trilobite out of resin, and then glue it into the rock. The good thing is you can easily tell it is a fake from when they do it, because it leaves a line around the trilobite as seen in the picture. They also try to make it look like they have used an air pen to prepare it, but by doing this they make it easier to spot, as they make the lines too big and even.
Compound Mosasaur Jaws
Mosasaurs (pronounced MOES-ah-SAWRS) were giant snake-like marine reptiles. They are the largest lizards who have ever evolved growing up to 60 feet (18.3 meters) long, with a skull almost 6 feet (1.83 meters) long. Their necks were short with seven vertebras. They were not dinosaurs, but were related to snakes and monitor lizards. They probably swam in a snake-like way, also using their fin tail to propel them forward. These carnivores ate fish and other marine animals such as squid, fish and shellfish. They breathed air, but spent all of their lives in shallow seas. Mosasaurs were powerful swimmers whose tails and limbs were adapted for swimming. These creatures became extinct 65 million years ago, when a great catastrophe struck the earth, likely to have been a meteorite.
Mosasaur jaws can still be found in the phosphate mines in Khouribga, Morocco. But teeth with roots alone are all very rare. But unfortunately there are a lot of fake Mosasaur jaws made. They are sometimes sold in stores, which do not mention that the jaws are fakes. You can also find these jaws in museum gift shops. Sadly, all of the jaws that look like these are fakes
How are they made?
The jaws are made of comprised or crushed matrix (the original matrix) and a strong binding substance in between. The jaw itself is made of ''recent'' bones from animals or plaster. The teeth are cheap Mosasaur or Prognathodon teeth. It could also appear that there is nothing from a Mosasaur in your jaw.
More fake Mosasaur fossils
The Jaws aren’t the only compound parts people make. There has been an increase in Mosasaur teeth with fake roots made in and out of the matrix they are found in. Teeth with genuine roots attached are much rarer than just the crown with no root. Plaster fakes will be textured but missing open pores, it might even have some evidence of air bubbles showing. Adding these fake roots simply make it essentially worthless as the honesty of the tooth is destroyed. The only good thing about them is that they make great display pieces.
To spot them, you should look for air bubbles as with trilobites, detailed textures and patterns in the shell, from growth.
Also, look for a shiny outer shell. The outer shell should be slightly different then from the inside.
If it is the same, it is plaster or resin.