Our second day started off a little cooler, but ridiculously humid. After putting up our sunshade (we take it down each night to prevent damage if there’s a storm) we continued digging into the back of the Buttercup Pit.
Last March we excavated the anterior half of a small baleen whale jaw in this pit. We left some scraps of bone under the temporary jacket that I suspected were part of the same bone. Amanda has been working in this area since yesterday, and I think she’s found the back end of the dentary, including the mandibular condyle:
Here’s a marked-up version, with the dentary fragments outlined in red. The condyle is the curved bone on the left, while the black streak in the middle is a piece of wood:
Amanda found several other interesting bones in this area, including a tiny partial odontocete tympanic bulla (toothed whale ear bone)…
…and a sunfish dermal bone (this is in addition to the very similar bone she found in this area yesterday):
I gave Tim the very difficult task of dealing with the weathered material at the front of the pit. Today he found a heavily-encrusted, but nearly complete, odontocete atlas vertebra (the first neck vertebra). It’s remarkably small, less than 8 cm across:
I’m able to post early today because an impressive storm system is moving through the area right now. We had to close the pit down at 3:00 pm because of lightning (we usually work past 6:00 pm), and heavy rain started just after we left. The storms are supposed to end tonight, so we should be able to get back to work in the morning.