We’ve reached a milestone in the preparation of our Carmel Church whale skull. This was the very first jacket we opened at the new museum, on March 31, 2007. It was featured in my first blog entry last September, and we’ve had numerous updates about this specimen. Today, we took the last pieces of bone out of the jacket.
The skull has rapidly come together in the last week, and is now almost finished. This is a dorsal view, with the front to the left. The braincase has now been attached, and there are only a few bits and pieces remaining (a few of these pieces are visible at the top of the photo). The paper in the photo is Remington Kellogg’s description of Diorocetus hiatus, which is the closest match we’ve found so far (I’m still not 100% sure our whale is Diorocetus).
As I had suspected, this is one of the most complete baleen whale skulls ever collected in the Calvert Formation. I estimate that it is more than 90% complete; the only major missing pieces are parts of the parietals that make up the sides of the braincase. (The yellow strips near the back of the skull is wax that I’m using to temporarily replace the missing parietals.)
After the last few pieces are attached, we’ll make a storage jacket so that we can more easily flip the skull over to see the other side of it.