Fossils For Sale - (2023)

Why Buy Fossils From Fossil Era?

FossilEra is the largest retailer of real fossils in the world.Founded by a life-long fossil enthusiast, field collector and preparitor we have shipped over 120k orders in just our first eight years in business. Our customers range from passionate collectors, to educational institutions, to museums, to those just shopping for a unique gift. Our actual customers have given us a combined4.9 out of 5 star ratingon their orders including over 13k five-star reviews.

We take pride in providing high quality, accurately described fossils and guarantee the authenticity of everything that we sell. Many fossil dealers will provide you with a paper authenticity certificate, but an authenticity certificate is only worth the paper it is printed on unless there is someone trustworthy backing it. We provide alifetime authenticity guaranteewhere we will provide a full refund at any time if the fossil we sold was not accurately described.

We source our fossils from a world-wide network of trusted field collectors and preparation labs. This allows us to establish provenance and provide the best material at great prices. Unlike the majority of fossil dealers we disclose restoration on specimens we sell up front. While many fossils require some degree of repair and restoration, disclosure is key so that you know what you are buying. Restoration can have a significant impact on the value of some types of fossils and we often see dealers selling fossils with very significant, undisclosed restoration, priced as if it had none. Part of the problem is that many dealers simply don’t have the knowledge of the fossil preparation process to be able to recognize this restoration themselves.

In addition to providing great fossils we take pride in our customer service and shipping.We insure all orders will arrive in good condition and offer a 30 day, no questions asked return policy on orders.If you have any questions you can reach one of our knowledgeable customer support staff via email at or on the phone at (866) 550-2013 (weekdays 7:00am to 4:00pm PST)

What Is A Fossil?

Fossils are the remains and traces of ancient organisms. A fossil (latin for "obtained by digging") is the preserved remains or traces of organisms (plants, animals, etc) that lived in the distant past. The convention is that a fossil must predate recorded human history. While there is no defined date, typically something must be older than 10,000 years to be considered a fossil.

The oldest fossils in the fossil record date from 3.5 billion years ago, however it wasn't until around 600 million years ago that complex, multi-cellular life began was first preserved in the fossil record.

There are two main types of fossils; body and trace. Body fossils include the remains of organisms that were once living (bones, shells, teeth, eggs, etc), while trace fossils are the signs that organisms were once present (footprints, tracks, burrow, coprolites). Trace fossils represent a data source that reflects animal behaviors, and they do not require the preservation of hard body parts. Many traces date from significantly earlier than the body fossils of the animals suspected to have made them.

Fossilization of an organism requires a unique set of circumstances so that it doesn’t just decay without a trace. These conditions include:

1. Rapid and permanent burial/entombment
2. Lack of oxygen that limits decay and scavenging.
3. Continued sediment accumulation
4. The absence of heat or compression which might destroy the fossil

Fossils are most often preserved within sediments that were deposited in water, such as wetlands, river basins, or the ocean.

Types Of Fossilization

Permineralization or Petrification- After an organism is buried, minerals carried by water such as silica, calcite orpyritereplace the organic material in the fossil. Some common examples are most dinosaur bones,petrified wood, and many trilobite fossils. Permineralization can preserve even the most minute details including cell structure.

Petrified wood is a classic example of Permineralization where the original, organic wood material has been replaced by silica and other minerals.

Molds and Casts- A mold fossil is when the organism decays leaving an impression in the rock called a mold. A cast is when that mold has been filled in with rock or minerals.

A bivalve preserved as an external mold fossil.

Carbonization- Carbonization is a process in which the more volatile substances of the organism (hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, etc) are removed, leaving behind the carbon. These fossils typically appear as a thin, dark film on the rock. This type of preservation is common among plant fossils.

Fossil leaves from the Traquille Shale of British Columbia preserved through carbonization.

Unaltered Preservation- The original material of the organism has not been changed to another substance. Very rare, and typically found in very recent fossils. Some examples include freezing (woolly mammoths in the permafrost), mummification, fossilization inamber.

A weevil trapped in Baltic amber is an example of unaltered preservation.

Replacement and Recrystallization- Replacement occurs when the shell, bone or other tissue is replaced with another mineral. A shell is said to be recrystallized when the original skeletal compounds are still present but in a differentcrystalform, as fromaragoniteto calcite.

A fossil clam from the famous Ruck's Pit locality in Florida full of calcite crystals.

Authigenic Mineralisation- A very special form of cast and mold formation where a nodule is formed around the fossil by minerals such as siderite. In cases of rapid fosssilization, very fine details can be preserved. One example of this is ironstone nodules in the Mazon Creek fossil beds that contain amazingly details fossil plants and insects.

A juvenile fossil shark (Bandringa rayi ) from preserved in a siderite nodule from Mazon Creek, IL.

Dating Fossils

One common question that comes up ishow is the age of a fossil determined?There are two main types of dating:

Relative Dating

The majority of the time fossils are dated using relative dating techniques. Using relative dating the fossil is compared to something for which the age is already known. For example if you have a fossil trilobite and it was found in the Wheeler Formation which has been dated to approximately 507 million years old, you know the fossil in it is approximately 507 million years old.

Scientists use certain types of fossils referred to as index fossils to assist in relative dating via correlation. Index fossils are fossils that only occurred during a specific time frame. Typically commonly occurring fossils that had a widespread geographic distribution such as brachiopods, trilobites, and ammonites make the best index fossils. If the fossil you are trying to date occurs in the same layers as these index fossils, they can be used to narrow down the date, or date the rock formation.

Another principal used in relative dating that rock layers are deposited sequentially. If a layer of rock containing the fossil is higher up in the sequence that another layer, you know that layer much be younger in age. By combining these principals, relative dating techniques can usually be used to determine the approximate age of a fossil.

Absolute Dating

Absolute dating is used to determine a precise age of a fossil through radiometric methods. This uses radioactive minerals in the rocks and fossils almost like a geological clock.

The atoms in some chemical elements have different forms, called isotopes. These isotopes break down at a very consistent rate over time through radioactive decay. By measuring the ratio of the amount of the original isotope to the amount of the isotopes that it breaks down into an age can be determined.

While people are most familiar with carbon dating, carbon dating is rarely applicable to fossils. Carbon-14, the radioactive isotope of carbon used in carbon dating breaks down too fast. It can only be used to date fossils younger the 75,000 years. Potassium-40 on the other hand breaks down much slower and is common in rocks and minerals. It can often be used to date rocks and fossils up to several billion years old.

What Determines The Color Of A Fossil?

The basic process of fossilization deals with mineral replacement as remains, such as bone, sit buried in the ground. Pressure from being buried in the ground causesminerals, which are naturally dissolved in ground water, to seep into the bones, precipitate, and fill in the microscopic gaps. The organic, or original, material in the bone breaks down over time while minerals fill in those empty areas where the organic material once was. In the end, the bone retains very little, if any, organic material, and instead, is full of hardened minerals. As a result, the weight of the bone dramatically increases and the color changes to that of the replaced minerals.

FossilMegalodon teethshowing a wide range of colors. They were all originally ivory white, like modern shark teeth before being fossilized.

Different Minerals Produce Different Colors

Since minerals come in a plethora of colors, fossils also come in a wide variety of colors. Some examples include phosphate, which is a common mineral to replaceshark teeth. Phosphate is a jet black mineral. If phosphate replaces the original material, the fossil will be black. Areas with lots of iron in the ground will produce red and orange colored fossils. Also, areas with gray clays and limestone will give a gray-green or gray-yellow color, like the shark teeth in North Carolina.Read More...

Most Popular Types Of Fossils To Buy

Authentic Megalodon Teeth-The Megalodonwas a massive prehistoric shark that grew to lengths of up to 60 feet and went extinct 2.6 million years ago. It had giant teeth thatcould reach 7 inches in length(though only a handful have ever been found that large). For comparison the largest great white shark teeth did not reach 3 inches in length. Fossils of it's teeth can be found worldwide and are both impressive and terrifying. Shop our wide selection of authentic Megalodon fossils for sale. Starting around $25 which make great gifts, to collector quality teeth priced at $3,000+

Ammonites- Ammonites are extinct, cephalopods with a spiral shell and tentacles. Their shells are common fossils world-wide and resembled those of the modern day nautilus. We have a huge selection of ammonite fossils for sale and they are one of our most popular items due to the natural beauty. In particular people love the cut & polished,agatereplaced examples from Madagascar which are often cut in half to reveal the beautifully preserved inner chambers.Learn more about ammonites...

Fossil Fish- Fish have been around in the fossil record for over 400 million years and are one of the most diverse animals on our planet. Fossil fish are some of the most aesthetic and collectable out there. FossilEra has a selection of beautiful fish fossils for sale from the Green River Formation of Wyoming as well as several other locations around the world. Not only do these fish make for beautiful displays but they are tremendously interesting from a scientific and historical perspective.

Trilobite Fossils- Trilobites are an extinct marine animal that dominated Earth's oceans for 270 million years long before the first dinosaurs. There were over 25k known types some of them with very ornate shells covered in spines. This huge variety and their alien looking appearance makes them very appealing to collectors. We have a huge variety of trilobite fossils for sale ranging from inexpensive, common species to amazing museum quality specimens and everything in between.Learn more about trilobites

Dinosaur Fossils- Another one of our best sellers is authentic dinosaur fossils and in particularly dinosaur teeth. We work with several of the top dinosaur quarries in the United States in both the Hell Creek and Morrison Formations to bring you hard to find material. In addition we guarantee the authenticity and accuracy of our listings.

Another particularly popular item is the theropod (meat-eating) dinosaur teeth from the Kem Kem Beds of Morocco due to their affordability. We almost always have a good selection of fossilSpinosaurus,RaptorandCarcharodontosaurus teethin stock as well asteeth of Mosasaurs(giant marine reptile) andPlesiosaurs(long necked marine reptile).

Amber With Insects- Amber is the fossilized sap of trees. Amber is known for trapping insects and plant material, making it an interesting window into the past. Amber can be found in many places around the world including the Balkans, Northern Myanmar (Burma), Mexico and the Dominican Republic.


Does FossilEra sell real fossils? ›

Are your fossils real? Yes, FossilEra only sells real fossils. We guarantee that all the fossils that we list and sell are original and as described. You can read more about our Authenticity Guarantee and disclosures on restoration here.

What fossils are worth money? ›

Most Expensive Dinosaur Fossils
1.. “Stan”, T-Rex$31.8 Million
2. “Hector”, Velociraptor$12.4 Million
3. “Sue”, T-Rex$8.3 Million
4. “Big John”, Triceratops$7.2 Million
6 more rows
Jul 30, 2022

Where can I get fossils authenticated? ›

Then, contact your local natural history museum. Many have special events where members of the public can bring in things they've found for identification, and even if they do not, they will have experts in many fields on staff.

How much is a real fossil worth? ›

A complete dinosaur skeleton can cost millions, even many millions! A real dinosaur tooth can run anywhere from $20 to a few thousand dollars depending on the quality of the tooth and how rare it is to find a particular species.

What is the rarest type of fossil? ›

The rarest form of fossilisation is the preservation of original skeletons and soft body parts. Insects that have been trapped and preserved perfectly in amber (fossilised tree resin) are examples of preserved remains.

How much is a 7 inch megalodon tooth worth? ›

As megalodons are extinct, the value of the biggest fossil teeth can be very high : a 7 inch megalodon tooth can easily reach $1.000. Some megalodon teeth have been restored, some other can be found with no restoration.

Is it better to sell fossils or donate them? ›

We recommend donating the first of every fossil you find to Blathers - that way you'll fill up your museum quickly.

Do museums buy fossils? ›

Museums will purchase fossils commercially, but they do so with reluctance and under duress — because a failure to purchase might result in a loss to science. Putting some fossils up for auction starts to feel very much like ransoming them.

How do you tell if a fossil is real or a replica? ›

Physical Aspects to Look for in a Fake Fossil
  1. Air bubbles: These form in plaster or resin casts but are not found in actual fossils.
  2. Undisclosed restoration: ...
  3. Enhancements: ...
  4. Morphology: ...
  5. Weight: ...
  6. Using the Color of Your Fossils to Gauge Authenticity.
Sep 16, 2021

How do I tell if a fossil is real? ›

Mostly, however, heavy and lightly colored objects are rocks, like flint. Paleontologists also examine the surfaces of potential fossils. If they are smooth and do not have any real texture, they are probably rocks. Even if it is shaped like a bone, if it does not have the right texture then it is probably a rock.

Can I keep a fossils you find? ›

Collected fossils remain public property and are placed with museums, universities or other public institutions for study and exhibition. You may collect reasonable quantities of common invertebrate fossils such as mollusks and trilobites, but this must be for personal use, and the fossils may not be bartered or sold.

How can I tell how old a fossil is? ›

Today, scientists use a variety of techniques to date rocks and fossils precisely. Most often, they measure the amounts of particular radioactive elements—often radiocarbon or potassium—present to determine when a rock was formed, or when an animal or plant died.

Can you tell exactly how old a fossil is? ›

To establish the age of a rock or a fossil, researchers use some type of clock to determine the date it was formed. Geologists commonly use radiometric dating methods, based on the natural radioactive decay of certain elements such as potassium and carbon, as reliable clocks to date ancient events.

Does a fossil have to be 10000 years old to be a fossil? ›

Preserved remains become fossils if they reach an age of about 10,000 years. Fossils can come from the Archaeaean Eon (which began almost four billion years ago) all the way up to the Holocene Epoch (which continues today). The fossilized teeth of wooly mammoths are some of our most "recent" fossils.

What is the most famous fossil ever found? ›

The T. rex named Sue is perhaps the most famous dinosaur fossils in the world.

What is the coolest trace fossil? ›

Tetrapod footprints, worm trails and the burrows made by clams and arthropods are all trace fossils. Perhaps the most spectacular trace fossils are the huge, three-toed footprints produced by dinosaurs and related archosaurs. These imprints give scientists clues as to how these animals lived.

How much are black shark teeth worth? ›

Shark teeth can cost anywhere from $1 in a gift shop that's located on a beach, to $1,000 for teeth that belong to very rare species of Sharks. These teeth do vary in condition as well which can change the overall value.

Has anyone ever found a megalodon jaw? ›

Although Megalodon teeth are frequently discovered, a full megalodon jaw has never been discovered. Saltwater breaks down cartilage, so all megalodon jaws have likely dissolved.

Why are shark teeth black? ›

The color of fossil shark teeth is a result of the minerals that are present in the surrounding sediments. Teeth fossilize through a process called permineralization. As water seeps through sediments over the teeth, it transports the minerals that are found in the sediment.

Can you make money selling fossils? ›

Yup, you can make good money selling fossils online, but that does not sit well with some scientists. Cardiff Garcia and Stacey Vanek Smith - they are hosts of NPR's podcast The Indicator From Planet Money.

Should you wash fossils? ›

All hard fossils should first be washed with detergent and water. Hard fossils are durable specimens that are not on a matrix of soft shale or sandstone that is likely to disintegrate when wet, or are not thin delicate films that might loosen in water.

Do fossils go up in value? ›

Despite what some scientists or 'anti-private ownership' individuals may tell you to discourage the fossil trade, the highest quality and rarest fossils DO APPRECIATE and their value goes up each and every year.

Are dinosaur fossils worth a lot of money? ›

Dinosaur bones have a long history of being held in private collections and some fossils are very expensive to collect, often selling for millions of dollars at auction.

Is it legal to sell fossils in the US? ›

Legality. In the United States, it is legal to sell fossils collected on private land. In Mongolia, China, and Morocco, the export of fossils is illegal.

What can you do with old fossils? ›

For those fossils that you know have scientific value, you should consider donating them to a museum or university while you are alive and able. This is the best way to transfer complete information about the fossils. Your collection must be well documented in order for a museum or university to have interest in it.

Why are fossils worth so much? ›

As pieces of once living things, body fossils are evidence of what was living where and when. Trace fossils are valuable because they "animate" the ancient animals or plants by recording a moment of an organism's life when it was still alive.

What can you not tell from a fossil? ›

Fossils also show how animals changed over time and how they are related to one another. Fossils can't tell us everything. While fossils reveal what ancient living things looked like, they keep us guessing about their color, sounds, and most of their behavior.

How can archeologists tell how old a fossil is? ›

Radiocarbon dating (often written shorthand to C-14 dating) is a method for dating sites by analyzing the amount of Carbon-14 (a radioactive isotope of carbon) found in organic remains like charcoal or bones.

How much can you sell a fossil for? ›

Fossils sales price at Nook's Cranny varies from 1000 to at least 6000 Bells, so make sure to remember which are worth grabbing by checking the price guide table below, listing both Nook's Cranny regular and drop-off box prices.

Why should fossils not be for sale? ›

Fossils should NOT be for sale.

Many scientists are opposed to auctioning off fossils to the highest bidder. They say it is unfair. That's because, unlike wealthy collectors, most museums don't have millions of dollars to pay for a fossil. There are a limited number of fossils available for research.

What happens if you find a rare fossil? ›

Report your fossil find!

Therefore, no matter where you find a fossil or what the fossil is, the UGS strongly encourages you to report your find to the State Paleontologist or other paleontology staff at the UGS. Then, the site of your discovery will be documented for scientific purposes!

How can you determine the age of a fossil without using radiation? ›

The age of rocks and fossils can also be determined using relative dating. The main concept behind relative dating is the Law of Superposition, which states that each layer of sedimentary rock is younger than the layer below it, but older than any layer above it.

What is the oldest true fossil? ›

The oldest known fossils, in fact, are cyanobacteria from Archaean rocks of western Australia, dated 3.5 billion years old. This may be somewhat surprising, since the oldest rocks are only a little older: 3.8 billion years old! Cyanobacteria are among the easiest microfossils to recognize.

How old is the youngest fossil? ›

The youngest fossils are around 10 Thousand (10,000) years old, and were alive at the end of the last Ice Age. How small can the fossils be? The fossils can be very small. Sometimes they can't be seen with your own eyes!

How old is the average fossil? ›

Specimens are usually considered to be fossils if they are over 10,000 years old. The oldest fossils are around 3.48 billion years old to 4.1 billion years old.

What is a trace fossil mean? ›

Ichnofossils, also known as trace fossils, are geological records of the activities and behaviors of past life. Some examples include rock evidence of nests, burrows, footprints, and scat.

How deep do you dig for fossils? ›

Generally, paleontologists look for fossils on the surface exposed to air without much digging. However, a dinosaur fossil was discovered in Norway at a depth of 2.3 km, which is the deepest discovered fossil.

What is the black coating on fossils? ›

Organic material can decay and leave a black film of carbon (carbonization). Molds and casts are created by sediment filling in a cavity; the impression is the mold of the organism, while the cavity that is filled is the cast.

Which type of rock will you always find fossils? ›

Most fossils "hide out" in sedimentary rock . When tiny bits of rocks and minerals (called sediment) join together over millions of years, they become sedimentary rock. Plants and animals that become sandwiched in this sediment eventually turn into fossils.

Can you sell real fossils? ›

Legality. In the United States, it is legal to sell fossils collected on private land. In Mongolia, China, and Morocco, the export of fossils is illegal.

Are you allowed to buy dinosaur fossils? ›

Is It Legal To Buy & Own Dinosaur Fossils? Yes, individuals can legally purchase and own dinosaur fossils provided they were legally collected and can be legally sold. For dinosaur fossils found within the United States this means they must have been collected from private land with the land owners permission.

How can you tell if a dinosaur fossil is real? ›

Any changes in texture, material, bone pores, grains, and even air scribe markings indicate the fossil may not genuine. Generally, fossils are made of heavy compressed rock. A very light weight specimen may not be rock. Also while purchasing a fossil, make sure the color is reasonably uniform.

How much is a real megalodon tooth worth? ›

To give you a general price range for commercial grade (has some defects) Megalodon teeth. 2-3” teeth will typically be in the $20 to $60 range, 3-4” teeth will fall into the $50-100 range, 4-5” teeth the $100-200 range, 5-5 ½” teeth $200-400, etc.

Can you make money off of fossils? ›

In the U.S., fossils excavated from the collector's personal property or with permission from other private property may be sold freely as a “finders-keepers” possession.

How much is a real T. rex skull worth? ›

rex skull it was auctioning would fetch between $15 million and $20 million. But at its sale on Friday, the specimen was sold for $6.1 million, including fees, to an anonymous buyer.

Can you make money if you find a dinosaur fossil? ›

Private citizens are allowed to collect these "for personal use in reasonable quantities" on federal land without a permit. However, any fossils taken from federally owned rock "may not be bartered or sold" later. Note that special rules may apply to certain remains and locations.

What does the Bible say about dinosaurs? ›

According to the Bible, dinosaurs must have been created by God on the sixth day of creation. Genesis 1:24 says, “And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.”

What is the biggest shark tooth ever found? ›

What is the largest shark tooth ever found? The largest shark tooth ever discovered has a slant height of 7.48 inches (18.9 cm) and belongs to a megalodon. It was found fragmented in the Ocucaje desert of Peru by Craig Sundell. After being discovered, the tooth was glued and measured.


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