Fossil Squid Beak?

Sep 16, 2005
Pittsburgh, PA
This is for sale on ebay (I know, the source of some dubious fossils...)

Is this really a fossil squid beak?




Thanks for posting this, Cuttlegirl. I've never seen anything like this on e-Bay before.

That really is a bizarre item, for one thing fossil squid beaks are rare items, and especially so beaks of this size. It could just possibly be from a giant squid of some form as the fragments have the right triangular-ish profile, but on the other hand, it's so difficult to say exactly what it is.

It would help if the listing provided some form of context for the item, as in where it was found, but there is nothing there. In fact the whole e-bay shop seems weird to me, with someone trying to sell a collection of Megalodon teeth that her deceased husband collected. His death is almost used as a selling point.

Really sorry, but the jury is out for me. Interesting spot though, thanks!
I very rarely buy fossils these days, but this was exceptional. However, I'm calling a limit on $40 though. I'm going to be lucky indeed if I get through the next 90 mins on that.

Problem is, there is no context, the description says it was found in Californian bay waters. We have no method of working out what date it is, let alone tying it down to a family.

Off to bed now, I fully expect to fail (as usual).
Good Luck Phil,

One of the replies from this seller said
Hello! I'd be grateful if you could send me more infos about the item, like where exactly it was found, supposed age of it; plus, may be please images...more
Here was the reply to my question...
Q: I am really interested in this specimen. I am wondering how you identified it as a squid beak. They are quite rare. Thank you, Jennifer
Oh, that was you Cuttlegirl?

Well, it went for $83 in the end and it looks like bidding went a little frantic in the last few moments. Good old e-Bay; the cause of many a stress related disorder!
Originally posted by Phil
Oh, that was you Cuttlegirl?

Yeah, it was me... I was going to bid myself but I decided it would be hard to convince my husband... "You spent $80 on that?!?" A pretty ammonite would be one thing, but a triangular piece of black rock is another (even though I know it would be an awesome addition to my cephalopod fossil collection).

Sorry you lost out Phil.

If you'd really like a fossil 'squid', specimens in limestone from Solnhofen in Germany pop up every couple of weeks. You might be lucky and pick one up for $100 or so. They are not as dramatic as the beak(?), but they are nice items to put on display.

DHyslop said:
I'm glad neither of you lost your money. Looks like a grade-A scam to me.


Hmm....well, I'm not so sure that it was a scam. Looking at the pictures closely there do seem to be features present that could be the pointed rostrum and wing-like lamellae. Here's a picture to show what I mean in comparison to an Archi beak. One has to imagine the two halves rotated 90 degrees though.

Well, it's academic now really, as someone else has it. If only there was some way we could send the buyer a message to post pics here via his e-Bay account?


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Oh, it does have a strong resemblance, but I'm sure so do many other rocks out there on planet earth. Even if we knew that this came from a pelagic, deep-water paleoenvironment I would fail to be convinced. I wonder how many concretions from dinosaur-bearing formations have been sold as eggs?

I'm not saying there's zero chance it is a beak, but the whole thing seems pretty shady to me.


Could be. I'm still totally undecided if the beak(?) is the bargain of the century at $80 or it was a misidentified piece of rock. Without looking at it in person, we'll never know unfortunately.


Thanks for the link, nice images there. Oddly enough I've got one of these Eocene period beak halves from Stone City Farm, and it only cost me about $10. The beast, Belosepia, is actually thought to be a form of primitive cuttlefish. Here's a link to the old thread with an image or two:

Belosepia - An ancient cuttlefish

Thanks again!
Speaking of squiddy rocky bits for sale, this teuthid pen currently on e-Bay is quite unusual. Normally the Jurassic Solnhofen specimens that come up for sale are of Plesioteuthis which has a long tapering blade-like pen. This is the first example of Kelaeno I've seen. Maybe I've not been looking hard enough?

Click here.
How can you really be sure any fossils sold on E-Bay are real?

I understand the member rating system and that there are reputable dealers, but it seems way too easy to "fake" fossils now.

As Phil had mentioned above, it is hard to verify the validity of a fossil without seeing it in person but the whole system of E-bay makes this next to impossible pre-purchase.

Maybe I'm just being paranoid but I hate seeing people getting ripped off.

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