TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Beginning Jan. 30, Tucson becomes an open playground to Gem, Mineral and Fossils lovers. The Gem and Mineral Show is always Southern Arizona's first big event of the year.
Show organizers are expecting about 80,0000 people for this year's event.
Bob the Triceratop's name adds almost a friendly touch to this imposing animal.
Triceratops were peaceful plant eaters but built like a 20 ton tank, and tough enough to make fierce meat eaters like T Rex think twice about attacking a Triceratops herd.
Thomas Lindgren of GeoDecor owns Bob and is willing to sell him for $1.2 Million.
He says Bob is a very special specimen. He's 65 percent original bone. He says many could be as little as 15 percent original often because of other dinosaurs that carry parts away.
Lindgren says, "When an animal dies especially during a time at the age of the dinosaurs the first thing that's going to happen is you're going to have the carnivorous dinosaurs coming in, the T Rex, the raptors and whatever coming in and ripping parts of it apart and eating it and dragging it away and dragging the legs away."
A few feet away and millions of years away in time, Lindgren has a collection of fossils from the Ice Age.
There's a woolly mammoth, early relative of modern elephants. To help you appreciate the wooly part, there's a life sized model decked out in fur from yaks.
Lindgren says, "We're looking at a snapshot of time that maybe 50 to 100 thousand years ago or the animals that walked together and the cave bears that competed with early man for their homes in the caves."
Lindgren hopes to sell the Ice Age collection as a set for $1.5 Million.
Pre-historic appetites could be pretty large.
KGUN9 found a good example at the Mineral and Fossil Co-Op in the 1600 Block of Oracle.
The Sahara Sea Collection has the teeth of the largest shark ever: a megalodon.
Because sharks have soft cartilage that doesn't fossilize as well as bone the jaws , big enough to swallow a small car are a replica but they give you a good feel for a fish able to chow down on what ever it liked even if what's on the menu had big teeth of it's own.
Bill Barker of Sahara Sea Collection showed us some crushed fossil remains that still showed plenty of sharp teeth.
"This is a mosasaur. There's its teeth. Inside a mosasaur you had another set of teeth. That's these. Then you see the crushing of its skull."
Bill Barker has been selling slices of prehistoric sea creatures for almost 30 years. Connections with a friend in Morocco, a real fossil hot spot, got him into the business.
Over at Hotel Tucson City Center, Jackie Lapin is selling special spheres of polished rock. They begin as raw potential mined all over the world, then shaped and shined into beauty she may sell for a few dollars, to many thousands.
Years ago she fell under their spell just as you might.
"I went to a Gem and Mineral show, not unlike this one, a smaller one and and I saw these two little round rocks and they just really called to me and the next thing I knew I was off and running and my collection is probably now a thousand pieces."
But her selection for sale has many more and after about 20 years selling she's getting out of the business, so you can get these at a discount.