Frequently Asked Questions

About Fossil Crates

Who are Fossil Crates?

Fossil Crates is a team of passionate and entrepreneurial paleontologists providing museum-quality fossil replicas beloved by dinosaur-obsessed and those just looking for a unique gift. 

What makes your replicas "museum-quality"? Don't museums have real specimens?

The majority of dinosaur bones on display around the world are casts.  Casting technology is so good it can be difficult for even experts to determine what is "real" versus what is reproduction.  There are many reasons casts are used today:

  • 99% of all dinosaurs found are known from only partial skeletons, with roughly 2/3 of all named dinosaurs being known from fragmentary material!.¬† Therefore every dinosaur skeleton on display incorporates¬†cast bones into the mount. Casts used to represent missing bones are often painted such that one can't tell what was originally found.¬† These casts are made by either mirroring existing elements (taking a left and making a right) or modeling the missing pieces from a closely related dinosaur from which they are known.
  • Most dinosaurs are known from only a few bones one location.¬† There aren't enough actual bones to be on display!¬† Take¬†Pachycephalosaurus, these thick-headed lizards are popular in museums yet are known from very few bones.¬† In order to meet the demand of museums wanting to showcase this cool dinosaurs casts are used.¬† Casts are an inexpensive way for museums to display rare, neat, and unique specimens.¬† In fact one can argue casts¬†are a better way for museums to display dinosaurs because they are "cleaned up', the broken elements restored, and a better visual presentation is had.¬† Museums often display casts and have a sign that shows which bones are known from fossils and which are casts.
  • Often the actual fossil is the only one of its kind.¬†¬†Spinosaurus¬†and¬†Bahariasaurus¬†are examples of dinosaurs whose original bones are no longer with us as both were destroyed in World War II.¬† The National Museum in Brazil recently had a fire that destroyed many scientific specimens.¬† Casts are a way to ensure rare fossils survive for future generations to appreciate.¬† Researchers often use casts because it isn't, for example, inexpensive or convenient to fly to Berlin to look at¬†Archaeopteryx, modern molding and casting techniques allow for most paleontological studies to be conducted on the casts.
  • Casts allow members of the public to bring the museum home.¬† Fossil Crates sells products that are on display in museums, now they can be in your home.¬†

    The Fossil Crates product replicates the original fossil so well that paleontologists use our casts for research purposes and museums display them to their visitors.  Even for trained professionals it can at times be difficult to tell a "real" fossil from a Fossil Crates "fake" one.  


    Do you have a physical location or storefront?

    No, we are an entirely online business. However, our team are based between Woodland Park, Colorado and Phoenix, Arizona ‚Äď give us a shout if you're in town!


    Do you sell real fossils?

    We sell what are known as casts, replicas, and reproductions of real bones. These are not real bones or real fossils.  We do not sell actual bones. 


    How are your replicas made?

    Fossil Crates products are made from casts of the real bones.  We follow a proprietary process outlined in the steps below for each cast we make.

    • The original bone¬†is encased in a special material that makes a mold of it.¬† A mold is made by hand so as to not harm the fossil and so we can obtain the most detail possible in the mold.¬†¬†
    • The mold is then filled with resin to make a cast.¬† The cast is solid, it is not hollow like many casts you may find.¬† ¬†¬†
    • A¬†few hours later the mold is cracked open and a cast is born!¬†
    • The cast¬†is allowed to dry¬†for a few hours and then inspected for defects.¬† Upon passing inspection it moves to the painting stage.
    • A paleoartist, using the original fossil as a guide, begins painting the cast.¬† A base coat is applied and, when dry, the bulk of the painting is then done.¬† When it dries again a dry brush is used to capture the fine details.¬† Being hand-painted each cast will vary slightly from the next, just like actual fossils (no two are ever identical!).
    • The final product is checked one last time for quality before receiving its Certificate of Authenticity and being carefully packaged ready to find its forever home!

    What else comes with my fossil casts?

    All fossils come with an identification card including information such as species, age, location and formation, exclusive paleo artwork, and a Certificate of Authenticity.

    If you've purchased a Crate (or a very large replica like the unnamed megaraptor hand claw or Utahraptor killing claw), you will have the option to ho have your specimens shipped in a Wooden or Standard (cardboard) Crate!


    What is the status of my order?

    Once you have placed your order, you will receive a confirmation email to track the status of your order. 

    Once your order is shipped we will send you another email to confirm you the expected delivery date as well as the link to track your order (when the delivery method allows it).

    Additionally, you can track the status of your order from your "order history" section on your account page on our website.

    Can I change my order?

    We can only change orders that have not been processed for shipping yet.

    Once your order is under the status "preparing for shipping", "shipping" or "delivered", then we cannot accept any edits to your order.

    To make changes to your order, please send an email to brian@fossilcrates.com.


    Do you accept returns?

    We accept returns that meet to the following conditions:

    - The item shouldn't have been used in any way
    - The return or exchange request is made within 28 days of delivery
    - The return is made within 14 days of the return or exchange request

    To request a return, please send an email to brian@fossilcrates.com.


    How long does it take to process a return?

    Returns are confirmed within 14 days of receiving the package at our warehouse.

    Once your return is accepted, the reimbursement, exchange or credit will be issued within 14 days of our services accepting your return.


    Where do you ship?

    We currently only ship fossil replicas within the United States.

    Our other merchandise, however, can be shipped all over the globe!


    How long does it take to ship my order?

    We ship orders on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 10am Mountain Time.

    Standard shipping time is 1-3 days, depending on your region within the US.

    Please allow up to 14 days to receive merchandise orders - though they will usually come sooner.


    How can I track my package?

    Once you have placed your order, we will send you a confirmation email to track the status of your order.

    Once your order is shipped we will send you another email to confirm you the expected delivery date as well as the link to track your order (when the delivery method allows it).

    Additionally, you can track the status of your order from your "order history" section on your account page on the website.