CHINESE FOSSILS - Their Proliferation in Today's Market
Exposing the Fraud of Unscrupulous Fossil Dealers
and their Magnificent-Looking Fossils
no other source for fake fossils has posed such a problem as exists
today with fossils from China. We must preface this section to say the
fake Chinese fossil market is becoming increasingly sophisticated and
changing so rapidly that any fossil now originating in China
should be approached with caution. This section deals with only
the tip of a massive and growing "iceberg".
Each year, thousands of trusting buyers
are duped by both inexpensive and very expensive, highly realistic fakes.
More troubling, even scientists have fallen prey to the extraordinary
craftsmanship of the Chinese fake fossil artists. In 1999, highly
recognized scientists along with National Geographic magazine presented an
amazing new discovery of a feathered dinosaur discovered in the Liaoning
Province of China. The
bird with a dinosaur's tail was named ARCHAEORAPTOR. A year later, it
was found to be a clever fake.
China has an
immense scientific wealth of genuine fossil deposits. Despite SEVERE
Chinese cultural property laws (up to and including the death penalty) that
forbid the export or trade in fossils, one can see numerous
Chinese fossils for sale in shops, shows, on fossil dealer websites and in
online auctions such as EBay (consistently THE highest incidents of fraudulent
auctions). With the threat of such strict laws, one has to wonder "How can there be so
many Chinese fossils making out of the country?" Simple logic is all that is needed....
FAKES! The Chinese
have found it easier (and safer) to just MAKE
these fossils. There is no worry or risk to a Chinese dealer when they
ship a fake out of the country!
Chinese fossils are found in remote villages where extreme
poverty is the norm. The financial rewards to fake or substantially
fabricate rare fossils they are familiar with is akin to winning the lottery
for most farmers in these regions. With a history and culture of incredible
craftsmanship dating back to the
today, the Chinese have focused their skills on mastering the fabrication of fossils.
Each year, countless fake Chinese fossils of ALL kinds are sold
to ignorant (and dishonest) fossil dealers who then in turn, sell to
trusting customers. Many of these outright fakes have, and continue
to, sell for thousands of dollars!
Only the most experienced
fossil dealers who possess necessary test and preparation equipment and who are
EXTENSIVELY EXPERIENCED WITH ALL TECHNIQUES OF FOSSIL RESTORATION AND
FABRICATION should be trusted to know the difference when it comes to fake
fossils of ANY source or type!
Very few fossil dealers have any
more knowledge in this than the very customers that rely on them!
NOT be afraid to ask your fossil dealer about his or her PERSONAL and
immediate experience in fossil preparation, restoration and fabrication.
If they tell you they do not PERSONALLY possess
MANY YEARS OF EXTENSIVE first-hand experience
in artistic techniques and application in fossil fabrication and
restoration, and that they mainly rely on THEIR sources,
avoid these dealers at all costs!!!
These fossil dealers likely have several specimen
in their inventory that they have no clue as to their true authenticity
regardless of any guarantee or assurances that they will provide you.
variety and magnitude of fake Chinese fossils that are sold today is endless.
Today, the Chinese will fake ANYTHING in their
quest to offer something that is new and exciting to the already-flooded
fake market. As of this posting, we observed a most interesting
creation. There is a dealer on EBay who recently sold a "fossil rat" on a slab
fabricated out of nothing more than a horrible fish fossil. The head
and body of the fish was altered to look like a rat and the arms and other
extremities were carved and painted on the
worthless fake sold for $3,010.00! As
the famous quote goes, "There's a sucker born every minute." In this
case, the auction involved 8 bidding "suckers" fighting for this one.
see where the slab on the left side is a darker gray color and ends about
where the box is around the fish head. On close-ups of this fossil
(posted in the following pages of this section) you can also see unique
anatomical characteristics of a fish skull and fish vertebrae with thin spiny ribs that only a fish skeleton
would have, not a rat!!! Simply amazing. No doubt this fossil
will end up proudly displayed on someone's shelf or worse yet, offered for a
substantial price by some foolish or crooked dealer!
OF FAKE CHINESE FOSSILS
two main types of "FAKE" fossils coming out of China - those are that
complete outright fakes and those that have a small amount of real
fossil but the majority of the piece is fabricated (and often
into a fantasy or non-related species). Since both types are
worthless, then we use the same term of "FAKE" for both in this article.
The fraudulent Chinese fossil market offers both types as being GENUINE.
observed expertly done Chinese fossil fakes being sold on both Ebay and a
few large fossil dealer websites.
Many of these CHINESE FAKE FOSSILS have
sold for THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS with several selling for WELL OVER TEN
Amazingly, many are being sold
shortly after being listed!
February 2000 issue of "New Scientist", an article focused on Chinese fossil
fakery (New Scientist, "F is for fake," 19 February 2000). Several highly
experienced paleontologists expressed extreme
caution about the authenticity of Chinese fossils. Most famous amongst
them was internationally known paleontologist Dr. Larry Martin of the
University of Kansas. Perhaps his comment offers the most sobering
warning to all fossil collectors and prospective buyers of Chinese fossils.
Dr. Martin stated
"at the moment, I don't trust any of
these specimens until I see the X rays!".
problem areas of Chinese fake fossils to watch for changes every year.
This list is not meant to be a comprehensive one but where we have seen some
serious issues in the fossil trade. Known areas of Chinese fossil
fakes are listed below BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
THEY FAKE AND ENHANCE THE FOSSILS
techniques are both ingenious and varied as to what the Chinese do to
fabricate and substantially enhance fossils. Most Chinese fossils are
made by a combination of these processes. These techniques include:
real materials (bones, teeth, body parts) to embed in glue, resin and
plaster to create a complete fake fossil composite on a slab or piece of
matrix. (i.e. using modern chicken or frog bones glued to matrix to
make various skeleton fossils).
Crushing genuine fossil bone and mixing with glue to fabricate body parts,
skulls and skeletons that appear genuine with the proper color.
Casting, painting and sculpting a fossil on a slab or in
three-dimension and even breaking it and then repairing it to appear
genuine or give the appearance of calcite veins running through the
Blending three-dimensional skulls (even using modern skulls!) of different
animals together with artificially added real teeth to create fake skulls of
rare, impressive animals. (especially a problem with Saber Cat skulls)
This has been done by adding genuine fossil teeth to modern skulls or
attaching animal teeth to a composite of modern skulls such as pig, dog,
horse, cat, etc. to create new exotic or rare species.
Assembling genuine fossils of unrelated specimens together to make a
complete, impressive fossil. The Chinese fossil fakers do this ALL
THE TIME! Even the dinosaur eggs are faked by creating a dummy
egg-shaped core and gluing on a mosaic of unrelated fossil eggshell pieces
that once were part of hundreds of different fossil eggs (sometimes you can
still see the varying colors of the unrelated pieces!) together like
assembling a picture puzzle, to make what looks like a complete egg!
NEXT TO PAGE 2 - Fake
Chinese Pterosaur & Bird Fossils