It turned out to be lucky they we dug our water drainage ditches yesterday, because it rained all night and into the morning. But when we arrived at the quarry the pit was nice and dry, and the exposed bones undamaged.
Alexa had to head back home after lunch, but we were joined by intern Allyson Gardner, who has been working on the Westmoreland whale for the last year. We spent most of the day following the bones we found yesterday. Fortunately, they are running parallel to the cliff face (so far), which makes them much easier to excavate.
By the end of the day we had excavated enough for a tentative identification. The large bone at the bottom of the photo above (right below the scale bar) is almost certainly the dentary (lower jaw) of a baleen whale. I believe we also have the front end of this bone, which broke off sometime during the winter and was found nearby yesterday. The long bone just above the scale bar may also be a baleen whale dentary, but I’m not as confident yet with that identification.
So far it looks like we’ll have to make two plaster jackets to hold these bones. My hope is that we’ll reach that stage in a few days.