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Falsifications: reptile fossils
The article series on falsifications aims at providing some key insights for recognising falsification using examples. This overview is not exhaustive and might contain errors. We advise to always adopt a critical attitude when buying fossils. This article gives examples of falsified reptile fossils.
The example below shows a comparison between a composite 'mosasaur jaw' (left) and an authentic one (right). Both originate from Khouribga, Morocco. The composite is fabricated from a series of loose teeth, mounted in a largely artificial 'jawbone' and a cemented matrix. Typically, the teeth are partial but authentic (although different mosasaur species are known to be put together), and the jawbone is fabricated from fish and reptile bone material. This type of falsification is produced in series, and consists typically of about 5 teeth in an anatomically dull jawbone and a rounded, sterile piece of matrix.
Left: composite 'mosasaur jaw'; right: example of a similar authentic specimen.
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