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Journey Into the Past with a DIY Fossil

submitted on 24 August 2023 by

An Introduction to the Fossil Fad

It has come to my attention that the world is currently undergoing a collective obsession with fossils, driven, no doubt, by the ceaseless parade of dinosaur-centric media. One can hardly so much as blink without being bombarded by images of reanimated prehistoric creatures or the latest pseudo-intellectual think piece on the dire ramifications of Jurassic Park-style genetic experimentation. But I digress. If it is fossils that the masses crave, then it is fossils they shall have. But we shall not settle for the mere purchase of these ancient relics; no, we shall delve into the art of DIY fossil creation.

On the Very Nature of Fossils

Before we embark on our grand fossil-making adventure, we must first seek to understand the very essence of these stony remnants of bygone eras. Fossils form over the course of millennia as organic matter gradually decays and is replaced by minerals, a process known as permineralization. It is this transformative act that allows us to gaze upon the remains of long-extinct creatures and ponder the boundless expanse of time.

Procure Your Specimen: The Search for Authenticity

One cannot simply create a fossil out of thin air—no, a true fossil requires an organic specimen as its foundation. However, do not be so foolhardy as to assume that any old flora or fauna will suffice. For the discerning fossil enthusiast, authenticity is paramount. Allow me to provide a few suggestions for procuring suitably prehistoric specimens:
  • Embark on a journey to the furthest reaches of the Earth, scaling treacherous mountain peaks and traversing scorching deserts in search of ancient flora and fauna preserved in amber. Take care not to succumb to the siren song of the amber’s entrapped insects, lest you find yourself tumbling down a slippery slope toward the aforementioned Jurassic Park-style calamities.
  • Visit your local natural history museum, ideally under the cloak of night, and abscond with a specimen from their fossil collection. While I cannot condone such criminal behavior, I acknowledge that desperate times call for desperate measures. Should you choose to pursue this course of action, I implore you to exercise caution, as I have it on good authority that the ghost of Richard Owen, the cantankerous paleontologist responsible for coining the term “dinosaur,” haunts the hallowed halls of such institutions, forever seeking to protect his beloved fossils from grubby-handed interlopers.
  • Consult with a learned soothsayer, who may guide you to the location of a hitherto undiscovered fossil trove. Be sure to compensate the oracle handsomely for their services, as they are known to be a rather vindictive lot.

The Art of DIY Fossil Creation: A Step-by-Step Guide

With your specimen securely in hand, it is time to embark upon the exhilarating journey of fossil creation. Follow these steps, and you shall soon be the proud creator of a DIY fossil:
  • Step 1: Prepare Your Specimen – Thoroughly clean your specimen, removing any dirt or debris that may interfere with the fossilization process. Be sure to handle it with the utmost care, lest it crumble to dust before your very eyes.
  • Step 2: Create a Mold – Mix equal parts plaster of Paris and water until a thick, paste-like consistency is achieved. Pour the mixture into a shallow container and press your specimen into the plaster, leaving an impression of the specimen in the mixture. Allow the plaster to dry completely.
  • Step 3: Cast the Fossil – Fill the impression in the plaster mold with a mixture of sand and glue, taking care not to overfill the mold. Press a second, identical plaster mold onto the first, sandwiching the sand mixture between the two molds. Allow the casts to dry for several hours.
  • Step 4: Unveil Your Masterpiece – Gently separate the two plaster molds, revealing the sand-cast fossil within. Carefully remove any excess sand and plaster, and marvel at the wonder that is your very own DIY fossil.

A Final Word of Caution

While I have no doubt that your DIY fossil will be a sight to behold, I must caution you against using your newfound skills for nefarious purposes. The allure of passing off one’s creations as genuine fossils and selling them for a tidy profit may be great, but such actions carry with them a heavy burden of guilt. So, dear fossil aficionados, I beseech you: embark on this journey into the past with a pure heart and an unclouded mind, and let the mysteries of the ancient world unfold before you.
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