Why Aren't Fossilized Dinosaur Turds More Expensive?

For some time now I’ve been in the market for a large, symmetrical, fossilized dinosaur turd. I’ve seen a few such specimens available for sale for prices I would consider to be quite reasonable, somewhere on the order of several hundred dollars apiece.

I’m not a paleontologist, but this seems suspicious to me. A dinosaur bone that size wouldn’t be nearly that cheap, but since turds don’t fossilize as easily as bones I would assume that the total volume of fossilized dinosaur turds might be roughly equal to the total volume of fossilized dinosaur bones, or thereabouts. If so, the demand, and therefore the prices, should be roughly equal per unit volume.

Are these cheap dinosaur turds authentic? How do you know if you’re getting the real thing??


Supply and demand. Not many people want to own an animal turd. I am one example of such a person.

I expect they’re more common. By definition, dinosaur turds were deposited(!) more frequently than dinosaur bones.

You, sir, have mastered the art of the arresting opening sentence.

“fossilized dinosaur turd”

that’s a good nickname for my cranky old retired next door neighbor.

Just want to observe that the proper name is coprolite.
The one on my desk here at work is only about the size of your little finger, 85 million years old, and only cost a couple of bucks.
I never cease to be amused by how many people smell it when they learn what it is, or drop it, as tho it will still smell like shit!
Many fossils are still reasonable, despite having increased in price significantly over the past 10-20 years.
Dino poop just happens to be among the more fun!

It’s not more fun for someone who thinks it’s a Cadbury’s chocolate finger.

I got a coprolite for under $5 a few years ago at the Fernbank museum in Atlanta. It’s about 1" x 1" x 1/4" but is flat; if you weren’t told what is was, you would never have known.

Nor would you care.

I’d read it…


We’ve got one picked up on the Jurassic Coast of England by my aunt on a fossil hunt. She gave it to my dino-mad son and it’s one of his most prized possessions. It is almost perfectly round and is a perfect example of the “pressed together agglomeration of rabbit turds” poos I have ever seen. It even has a very faint pooey sheen (probably from all the handling!!)

We went to that area of England last summer, and went to every museum and exhibit on fossils, dinos and the local geology that there was. We saw endless coprolites, most of which were unrecognisable as poo. There was even one Victorian side table which was an entire array of poos cut in section and inlaid. They were very big, a good hand’s breath across, and had crystallised into a very lovely pink colour, with lots of layers visible.

We also saw dino vomit - the shell eaters had to upchuck all the unusable bits, and it looked just like a bunch of crunched shells concreted together.

I wouldn’t have paid much for the vomit but the poo table was a work of art.

I agree with you that many fossils are astoundingly cheap, when you think what they actually are, and how vanishingly small the chances of that thing being fossilised were. For a tiny window into unimaginably far history, they are incredibly good value.

(Says the owner of a mammoth tooth, a dino footprint, a dino tooth and a poo, none of which were stupidly expensive…)

Dude. Its a pile of shit.

When I was a dinosaur docent at the Field Museum, we had a little coprolite we’d let the children hold. They’d look at it suspiciously, and then I’d say “can you guess what that is?” Once they realized that I wasn’t playing a trick on them, it was the coolest thing EVER. “LOOK MOM, DINOSAUR POOP. And it doesn’t even smell!”

So, you won’t buy just any old crap?

and you, sir, have mastered the art of the arresting sentence in the middle of a post.

I suppose. You could also argue that they’re awfully expensive, when you consider that they’re just rocks, with no particularly useful purpose. But it takes all sorts. :wink:

“You will remember to wash your hands before you eat anything?”

How much would you want to pay for them?
Have you American Express?

How do you know if it’s authentic?

It will still be crap no matter how authentic it is.