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The Ramada Inn
Friday February 2nd - The weather was cloudy and rainy today with a high of 63 degrees.

Weather forecasting is normally an easy business in Tucson. However, the storm was more persistent than the forecasters predicted and hung around a day longer than it was supposed to. The storm clouds began breaking up by mid afternoon when I arrived at the Ramada Inn, which hosts the heaviest concentrations of fossils and fossil dealers at the Show.

This is a cast of a towering woolly mammoth found in a southeast Wisconsin cornfield in 1994. It is considered to be one of the finest and most complete finds of a North American mammoth, partially because of the paleo-Indian stone tools that were found with it. The bones also clearly exhibited evidence of cutting, slashing and scraping with these artifacts.

I wonder if those ancients actually hunted this monster and killed it, or simply came upon it after it had succumbed to other causes? It's kind of hard for me to imagine killing something like this with stone-age weapons. When you're standing right up next to a skeleton you realize just how big and powerful these animals were.

It's a pretty safe bet no human ever killed one of these.

If you're a cat lover, you could've taken this sabertooth home for only $10,000. There were several sabertooth skeletons offered at the Ramada Show.

Several examples of reproduction fossils from China were set up in the Ramada Inn courtyard by Maxilla & Mandible, Ltd.. In Room 164 they showed many other anatomically correct models and reproductions. There was a bat skeleton hung from a perch in a bell jar that I particularly admired. Sorry, the light was not favorable to a picture.

It wasn't all fossils at the Ramada Inn. In fact, there were numerous mineral dealers at this Show. Tina's Jewelry and Minerals in Room 189 was showing cases full of the rare red beryl crystals from the Red Beryl Mine in Utah's Wah Wah Mountains. That locale is the only known source in the galaxy for this gem quality, deep red beryl.

I'll be back here in a few days with my 35mm and a macro lens to try a few shots of some pretty handsome pieces with crystals in matrix. Some of these specimens ran upwards of $40,000.

Most beginning collectors do not have a red beryl. At least, not the poor ones. Images are one way of vicariously owning a precious red beryl, I guess.

A couple of rockhounds debate the relative merits of several pieces of matrix peppered with dozens of silver dollar sized ammonites. There were so many pieces on the lawn outside this room it would have been difficult indeed to pick out the best one... I didn't take notes with this picture but if memory serves me correctly, the larger chunks were going for a couple of hundred bucks apiece.

Canada Fossils Limited offered mostly high-end specimens in the Colony Room at the Ramada Inn. Here is a Mexican ammonite, Romaniceras ornatissimum. Note the small specimen attached to the larger. A very aesthetic piece by my tastes. $600.

Canada Fossils also offered boxes full of Colombian amber. Fifty cents per gram. Double that for bugs in it. Amber's not like soup, is it?

These spectacular rainbow colored ammonites from Southern Alberta just aren't done justice by this image. As you changed viewing angles, this material changed colors. They had a very vivid luster, somewhat like mother of pearl, only deeper. These are actually recognized as gem material. Priced like it too. From left to right, $10,000, $16,500 and $10,680. These were big specimens, the largest was pushing 30 inches in diameter.

I'll be back with a 35mm to try and get an image showing off the colors.

This mammoth tusk was recovered in the Yukon Territories. It weighs around 40 kilograms. It was offered at $9,200. Canada Fossils had other tusks, and was selling pieces of ancient ivory too.

The Ramada Inn is one of the nicer shows to browse due to its large, open grassy courtyard. This area provides a nice respite from the often crowded rooms and tables. I don't care much for crowds, however, you've got no choice but endure them at times if you want to see the good stuff. I've noticed a sure way to generate a crowd is to set up to photograph something... it doesn't matter what. I'm pretty sure a crowd would have formed between my camera and my foot if I aimed it there...

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