Moroccan Trilobites

Moroccan trilobites have long been a favorite among collectors. Trilobites from Morocco come from Cambrian, Ordovician and Devonian strata, but those from the Devonian represent an especially diverse faunal assembly, enabling the collector to acquire specimens across all nine orders of trilobites, many of which are exotically spinous; a collection truly represents an example of how trilobites radiated into many forms as they specialized into their respective environmental niches throughout the Paleozoic.

Prior to about 1999, fakery was ubiquitous and rampant among the Moroccan trilobites. Some were entirely manufactured from ceramics and polymer resins, and others were real in part, literally chipped out of the very hard limestone with hammer and nail, losing eyes and spines in the process. The missing parts were subsequently carved from the matrix. With the advent of modern preparatory equipment, completely authentic Moroccan trilobites are now available. Fakes still abound, however, so caution is warranted (see this fake trilobites information) -- generally avoid trilobites from Morocco where a liberal coat of paint has been applied, as this is not needed; or, if you like painted trilobites, then paint them yourself. Also see this article on identifying fake trilobites, with many examples from Morocco.

The change occurred when several U.S. importers enabled modern prep equipment to be available in Morocco, and insisted on quality and authenticity. One of these Moroccan Trilobites pioneers was Joe Aaronson of Pangaea Industries, whose business is mainly wholesale, but who also has a retail website. Still the hammer and nail prepped bondo-bugs abound, and get dumped on e-bay and in various shops. Increasingly, the fakes are disappearing, as they become uneconomical. The Moroccan preparators can work for a fraction of minimum wage, live like princes, and crank out low-cost, beautiful trilobites. It is essentially cost-prohibitive to prep Moroccan trilobites in the U.S.

The major fossil web sites such as Indiana9, Fossil Mall, Stones and Bones, and Extinctionss are very insistent on authenticity and quality, and provide beautiful trilobites for about the same price. Practically speaking, they all buy from the same source. Joe (who we will soon interview and publish the results) cautions collectors to not be duped by scare mongers who want to charge too much. As a rule of thumb, the finest spiny Moroccan trilobites such as Dicranurus monstrosus, Psychopyge elegans should be priced from $1100 to $1400, and Comura bultyncki under $2000, for example, when prepared with their many spines free standing, an exceedingly time expensive process. The more common Moroccan Devonian trilobites should be priced under $100, except the so-called flying versions without free standing spines, which should be fairly priced in the $200 to $300 range. Rarer species with many, many spines, can take close to or more than 100 hours to prepare, and command prices in the range of $2000 to $4000.

And again, to repeat, be sure to ask if the trilobite is painted before purchasing.


Devonian
Crotalocephalina Moroccan Trilobite
     
Order Phacopida, Family Cheiruridae
     
Djebel Issoumour, Alnif
     

Kaserops morocconensis
Order Proetida, Family Proetidae
Order Lichida; Family Odontopleuridae
Order Corynexochida, Family Thysanopeltidae
Order Phacopida; Subfamily Asteropyginae
Order Proetida
Order Phacopida; Subfamily Asteropyginae
Djebel Issoumour, Alnif
Mount Issoumour, Alnif
Mount Boutshafrin, Alnif
Oufaten, Alnif
Hamar Laghdad, Alnif
Hamar Laghdad, Alnif
Order Proetida, Family Proetidae
Order Lichida, Family Lichidae
Order Phacopida
Order Phacopida, Family Acastidae
Order Proetida, Family Otarionidae
Order Phacopida, Family Acastidae
Hamar Laghdad, Alnif
Laatchana, Alnif
Ma'der, Erfoud
Hamar Laghdad, Alnif
Oufaten, Alnif
Foum Ziguid
Order Harpetida, Family Harpetidae
Order Phacopida, Family Cheiruridae
Order Phacopida, Family Dalmanitidae
Order: Lichida, Family: Odontopleuridae
Order Phacopida, Subfamily Asteropyginae
Order Phacopida, Superfamily Acastoidea
Boudib
Lamrakeb Formation, Alnif
Alnif
Aatchana, Alnif
Alnif
Oufaten, Alnif
Dimuproetus sp
Koneprusites
Order Proetida
Order Proetida, Family Otarionidae
Order Phacopida, Subfamily Asteropyginae
Order Phacopida, Family Phacopidae
Order Proetida, Family Tropidocoryphidae
Order Phacopida, Family Acastidae
Hamar Laghdad, Alnif
Lamrakeb, Alnif
Mount Issoumour, Alnif
Alnif
Hamar Laghdad, Alnif
Lghaft
         
         
Order Corynexochida; Family Thysanopeltidae
         
Hamar Laghdad
         
Image Credit: Moroccan Trilobites

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