We had a big day today, as we moved three new jackets into the lab. All three jackets (with an estimated combined weight of around half a ton!) come from the 14-million-year-old sediments at the Carmel Church Quarry in Caroline County.
The nearest jacket is part of the same whale we’ve been preparing since March, whose skull has already been mentioned in an earlier post. This skeleton was collected in May 2006.
The other two jackets belong to another whale skeleton. It was initially uncovered during an excavation we conducted with the assistance of students from Virginia Tech and William and Mary in November 2005. In the photo below the arrows are marking a line of vertebrae. Although we didn’t know it at the time the block on the left contained the skull.
We were finally able to finish collecting them in March 2006. An interesting point with the two skeletons we’re currently preparing is that they were laying so close together that the ribs were actually overlapping.
We’ll be opening at least one of these jackets in about two weeks. Why the delay? This weekend I start driving to Austin, TX, for the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology. I’ll be blogging from the meeting (at least whenever I can get a wireless signal) on the lectures I attend, poster presentations, people I see there, and whatever else strikes my fancy.
Keep checking next week for updates.