Creating a replica fossil crab of one of the most watched viral crabs in the world

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An important part of paleontology is creating replicas of fossils as oftentimes there might only be one or two specimens of a dinosaur in the world, limiting the number of people that can see the specimens. Replicas are also an affordable way to provide specimens to collectors and schools so that more people can get to know the size and dimensions of the bones.

By using high-quality latex designed for movie props, one can create a high fidelity replica, accurate in every way. The final step of painting it ensures that the replica is almost indistinguishable from the original.

The original fossil is a Tumidocarcinus giganteus crab that lived about 12 million years ago. The original prep video had more than 30 million views worldwide.

What happens in the video:

00:00 - 00:16 The clay is used to position the original fossil in as this will be a clamshell mold (double-sided). The marbles are used to index the two parts of the mold and the wooden sticks are the vent holes.
00:20 - 00:34 Mixing the two parts of the silicone and then pouring it, I didn't mix enough which is why it looked so thin on the top of the crab. Luckily the mold still worked.
00:38 - 01:10 I used some of the rock I removed from the original fossil to make up the mixture for the replica, this way each replica contains a bit of the original fossil. I use a mortar and pestle to grind the rock into a powder.
01:11 - 01:47 I mix the rock powder with plaster of Paris and then pour it into the mold
04:26 - 04:46 Covering the plaster cast with B72 to create a waterproof, strong mixture that I can paint on. This will allow it to last for decades.
04:46 - 05:33 Painting it with acrylic to match the style of a Tumidocarcinus crab.
05:41 - 06:21 Removing the excess paint and cleaning up the lines
06:22 - 06:26 Spinning original crab
06:27 - end Spinning replica crab

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