Carmel Church-Day 4

We have found a number of land mammals at Carmel Church over the years, but this is the first excavation on which we’ve found two different ones. This morning we recovered this small land mammal tooth. I’m not yet sure what type of animal it came from, but it is definitely different from the five large teeth we found yesterday.

We continued working on the series of large bones that we exposed a few days ago. The long bone at the top of the picture is the baleen whale lower jaw, while the mass of bone at the bottom seems to include jaw, skull, and rib material, although I’m not certain of the identification of those.

By 5:30 we had progressed far enough to make the top half of the plaster jacket for the lower jaw. It’s not actually as complicated a process as I make it seem in this picture:

The bones are covered with foil to protect them from the plaster.

Then the tops of the bones are covered in burlap strips soaked in plaster.

We’ll let this jacket set overnight. We still need to add some bracing to the jacket (long, narrow bones break easily).

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This entry was posted in "Popeye", Carmel Church land mammals, Carmel Church mysticetes, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group, Paleontological techniques and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Carmel Church-Day 4

  1. Doug says:

    Funny how those little teeth turned out to be the most exciting things so far. Good luck with your whale parts.

  2. Alexa says:

    And good luck with your plaster. 😉

  3. Alton Dooley says:

    Paleontologist Brian Beatty, who has been studying Calvert Formation land mammals, told me in an email yesterday that he thinks the large teeth are more likely from a camel than a rhino. Camels are about as rare from the Calvert as rhinos are, and they’ve never been reported from the Miocene of Virginia before. I had considered the possibility that they might be camel, but thought they were too large.

    I’m not sure if I’ll get a new post up tonight; we had to close the pit down rapidly this afternoon as a storm approached. But I’ll have a new post up tomorrow at the latest.

  4. Alton Dooley says:

    By the way, Alexa, the plaster set up beautifully, and we were able to successfully turn the first jacket over today.

  5. Aydin says:

    Have you ever come across land snails shells in the places where you have found land mammals?

  6. Alton Dooley says:

    One of the odd things about Carmel Church is that we get almost no shells of any kind, not even from marine snails. We’re not sure why that’s the case. So, no, I’ve never found any land snails, although I have heard of them in land deposits that include land mammals.

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