Turquoise pseudo. Fossil mammal bones

Potosi Mtn. area, Clark County, Nevada
Small Cabinet, 5.7 x 5.3 x 3.3 cm
Start Time: 06/13/2009 6:00:00 pm (CDT)
End Time: 06/23/2009 6:15:00 pm (CDT)
Auction Closed

Item Description

This incredibly well-preserved 2.2 cm jaw of a fossil mammal from the Pleistocene is now writ in turquoise! These trickle out of the desert from time to time, found in handfuls by the lucky prospector. What happenned is that copper-rich solutions flowing through the fossil beds, from nearby copper deposits, altered the bone, or the fossilized bone, to turquoise. These replacements are generally complete all the way through, and are invaluable to researchers as they preserve superb bone detail internally as well as externally. For the collector, they make for the oxymoron of a beautiful fossil! For the pseudomorph collector, they make for an unusual item to introduce layment into what chemical replacement means in practice. This is one of the finer examples I have seen because it has a complete lower jaw (of a marmot-like rodent, I am told), and the aesthetics are good. Valued $2500-ish, this is a finer quality than all but a very few I have seen.

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