Today was our last day at Carmel Church, and there wasn’t much left to do. Our main task was to make our last jacket, which included several vertebrae and other bones. The jacket is shown above, just before adding the plaster, and the marked up version is below:
The vertebrae are outlined in red, and other bones in green, although there are several bones in this jacket I didn’t mark. The jacketing went perfectly; here it is just before we flipped it:
With that jacket out of the way, all we had left was cleaning up and removing a small apparent rib fragment in the wall behind where jacket 2 was removed. That turned out to be a 2-hour task, as the bone got bigger and bigger, and turned out to not be a rib. In fact, it was the strangest find of the entire trip:
I don’t know what this thing is! It appears to be pathological, based on the irregular shape of the big giant lump in the middle. I believe it probably sat on the midline, and may involve paired bones (the split at one end is real, not damage).
My best (very tentative) guess is that this is a pathological odontocete rostrum, or perhaps mandible. Gerholdt and Godfrey (2010) reported pathological odontocete rostra from the Chesapeake Group, and this reminds me a little of those. But I’m bothered by the complete absence of tooth sockets in this specimen. Whatever it is, though, it’s the first one we’ve ever found at Carmel Church, and was quite an ending to a successful 2 weeks in the field.
I’d like to once again thank Tim Rice and Jason Babcock from Martin Marietta for helping us with access to the quarry, and all our Petridish.org donors for making this excavation possible.