Fossils have provided us with an inside look at how species lived millions of years ago. They opened the door to the past, telling us when these species existed on Earth, how they looked, and if they were related to other animals or plants. As a result, collecting fossils has become increasingly popular with people wanting to have a piece of the past.
3 Ways to Start Collecting Fossils:
- Start fossil hunting
- Dig them up
How to Start Your Fossil Collection
Starting your collection is simple, and you can begin at any time, whether you’re in a store and one catches your eye or you’re at the beach and stumble upon a shark tooth. If you don’t have a fossil to start your collection but are interested in beginning one, we’ve been there, too. We have you covered, from knowing where to find them, how to dig them up, and preservation.
Where to Find Fossils
Did you know that almost every state has an official state fossil? The first step should be a quick Google search to see if your state has one and what it is. From there, research the laws in your area about collecting fossils.
Some states require permits, while other states forbid collecting fossils of any kind. Once you’ve done your research and planned your next steps, it’s time to hunt. After you’ve found your first one, the obsession…er, the collection begins!
How to Dig Up Fossils
While finding fossils is a lot of fun, knowing how to extract them if they are stuck is imperative to preserving them. Extracting them requires a delicate hand and patience. Start as far away from where you believe it’s buried and try to clear the entire way around it little by little.
Slowly try to remove it each time you’ve removed a piece of the excess area. While it can take a long time depending on how stuck it is, if you can preserve it during the process, you’ll have a stunning piece of the past to proudly display in your home.
Don’t forget to check your state laws before you do any digging. A paleontologist once unearthed one of the biggest and most complete dinosaur skeletons ever found. Affectionately named “Dinosaur SUE,” the skeleton became very popular and well-known - as did her finder, who was charged for illegally digging on land and then taking what he found!
Who is Dinosaur SUE?
SUE, the T. rex, is the largest and most complete tyrannosaurus rex skeleton that has ever been found. SUE was purchased for 8.3 million dollars, which at the time was the highest amount ever paid for a fossilized dinosaur. SUE lives at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. She even has a Twitter, which makes sense since she is the most famous fossil in the world!
Because of SUE, scientists all over the world have been able to do specialized studies on the species and learn more about dinosaurs than we ever thought possible. So, if you’re planning a trip to Chicago anytime soon, stop by and say hi to dinosaur SUE!
3 Fossils You Should Collect:
We know there are endless types of fossils to collect, some very common and others extremely rare. Wondering where to begin? These common but popular ones are perfect for starting your collection!
Why Shark Tooth Fossils Are So Popular
Shark teeth have been popular for the last 300 years. While the initial reason for looking for shark teeth started centuries ago to be used as weapons, in today’s world, many fans and collectors will walk beaches in hopes of finding a new one to add to their set.
Shark teeth are easy to find while still being unique in their own way, making no two collections the same. More avid collectors will even buy rare shark teeth at a high value to complete their collection. If you are looking to start your collection and would rather find your first relic on your own merit, you may have luck finding a shark tooth at your local beach.
Our 3 most popular tooth fossils are:
Double Moroccan Mosasaur Fossil Tooth in Matrix
Our double mosasaur tooth dates back to around 70 million years ago, making it one of our most popular and fascinating shark teeth. This unique remnant is still embedded in the jawbone of the prognathodon species of mosasaur. This species was reminiscent of a marine lizard that was one of 12 identified species of the mosasaur family. Prognathodon means forejaw tooth.
Carcharocles Sokolovi Fossil Tooth
The carcharocles sokolovi tooth is found in Morocco and dates back to the late Eocene epoch. Its features include serrations, cusps, and gorgeous enamel. While they are rarely found fully intact, many are able to be restored to their natural beauty. Don’t waste another minute and add this to your collection today.
Mosasaur Fossil Tooth in Matrix
If you’ve ever watched Jurassic World, you’ve probably heard of the mosasaur. However, while often mistaken as dinosaurs, these creatures were related to snakes and lizards. They were known to be around 50 feet long with a shark-like tail and skin as smooth as a snake’s. Mosasaur teeth are fairly common, but who wouldn’t want to own a piece of this fascinating creature? Still preserved in its natural root state, this fossilized tooth is one of our most popular items for a reason.
Why You Need to Add Ammonite Fossils to Your Collection
Once the most abundant animal in the sea, ammonites’ remnants offered valuable information about the past. Ammonites are shelled cephalopods and are the most widely known among collectors. Over 10,000 species of ammonite have been discovered, though there could be more!
While they may be common, we recommend adding a fossilized ammonite to your collection and learning all about these fascinating creatures that once ruled the sea. Related to the modern-day squid and octopus, these index fossils wash up all over the world.
Our 3 most popular ammonite fossils are:
The 4” phylloceras fossil is a stunning piece every collection must-have. It highlights the unique pattern of the animal and is over 100 years old. Each phylloceras fossil is unique, making them a perfect addition to your collection.
Ammonite Split Pair
Did you know that ammonites lived with the dinosaurs and went extinct with them, too? They range in size from handheld to human size, and we know all of this from fossils! The split pair ammonite has been cut in half, revealing its inner beauty as well. By adding one of these to your collection, you’ll be the envy of your fellow collectors.
Our polished ammonite is one of our most stunning pieces. Every detail of this animal is highlighted throughout the piece, making it difficult to stop staring at it. Ammonites are related to the nautiloids species, which is still around today. These popular ammonite pieces go quickly, so grab yours today! You won’t regret it.
What is an Index Fossil?
Index fossils are useful for defining and identifying geologic periods over a wide area. In addition, they have allowed scientists to determine their age and learn more about the time period these species lived in. The most useful ones are easily recognizable, extremely common, and were discovered over a wide geographic area. Fossilized ammonite and trilobites are at the top of this list.
Grab Our Trilobite Fossils and Own a Piece of the Past
Trilobites are extinct marine arthropods that were first discovered 521 million years ago, give or take. They lived for nearly 300 million years before going extinct. Like ammonites, these creatures dominated the sea during their time on Earth.
Though they’re most commonly found in Western Canada, trilobites can be found on every continent on Earth. Complete trilobite skeletons are quite rare, but various pieces of them are easy to find.
Our 3 most popular trilobite fossils are:
Phacops is related to the phacopidae family that lived primarily in North and South America, China, Northwestern Africa, and Europe around 380 million years ago. They are usually found rolled up, a defense mechanism that smaller trilobites used to protect themselves.
Our cornuproetus trilobite gives a great snapshot into how these creatures looked. Trilobites are recognized by their shell, which is divided into three lobes. Encased in its original matrix, this trilobite piece will stand out in your collection.
If you’ve been looking for the perfect trilobite relic for your fellow collector, the cyphaspsis trilobite is it. Referred to by history buffs as the “devil horned” trilobite, this species makes for an incredible piece. Given the nickname for obvious reasons, these 380-million-year-old creatures continue to teach us about the period in which they lived.
Other Unique Fossils We Don’t Want You to Miss:
The Sand Dollar
Perhaps the most popular fossil around, sand dollars have been used for decorations, gifts, jewelry, and more. Belonging to the same family as sea urchins, these marine invertebrates can be found just about anywhere. They are very common and have a story of hope and peace behind them.
We highly recommend adding a sand dollar to your collection. No matter how common, no collection is complete without one.
Fossil coral is a natural gemstone that is created when coral is replaced with agate. Corals are marine animals, so their skeletons are fossilized. Our polished coral comes from Morocco and is over 300 million years old. It has intricate details and a unique pattern throughout. If the primary goal for your collection is the more unique, the better, add this one to your cart now.
Where to Buy Fossils
While we’d all prefer to just stumble upon different types of fossils anytime we are on a hike or at the beach, that’s just not realistic. If you’re an avid collector, you are constantly scouring the internet for the perfect piece to add to your horde. So how do you know where to buy them? How do you know they are authentic? It can be scary to buy from an unknown place, so it’s important to know the signs of a reputable merchant to make your purchase from.
Speak to the shop owner and employees, see what else they have sold, and check reviews online. These will all give you a good idea if the place is reputable and can all be done from the comfort of your own home. If you email an owner, many of them will be eager to share why they fell in love with fossils and sell them today. By doing your research, you will have peace of mind as you purchase your fossils from afar.
How to Store Your New Fossils
If you are storing your collection for any reason, it’s important to know how to do so safely and efficiently. Boxes with padding are an ideal choice for storage and can easily be placed in drawers for safekeeping.
While anything fossilized is known to hold up well, ensure you don’t leave them in very hot or humid locations. It’s also important to put them in boxes where they are nice and snug. If you store them in a spot with excess space around the fossils, you risk them getting moved around and cracking or breaking accidentally.
You can also use foam to fill the box and cut a little spot for them to fit right into. Don’t forget to label them if you are storing them altogether. While each piece is unique, many of them have similarities making them look identical at first glance.
You can also use smaller bags for your tinier, sturdier pieces. Take your time and plan a system. Before you know it, you’ll be able to admire your collection on a daily basis.
Whaler’s Locker is a unique purveyor of goods located in Hawaii that offers collectibles and gifts while emphasizing the islands’ strong natural history. So, as you start gathering your fossil collection with specimens from your excursions in nature or our shop, take a page from the book of Ross from “Friends” and let everyone know all the cool facts about fossils while showing off your collection.