Carmel Church Day 4

We spent a good part of today continuing to add layers to the vertebra jacket. We’re letting it set up overnight, and we’ll try to flip it tomorrow. The shiny stuff behind the jacket in the photo above is aluminum foil, covering additional bones further back in the hill (just to make sure we don’t accidentally splatter plaster on them).

While the plaster was setting, we worked on the sediment just to the right of the jacket. We knew there was a large rock there, with a rib under it, but I didn’t think there were a lot of additional bones in that area. Turns out I was wrong; as soon as we started digging around the rock, we found at least seven additional bones (mostly ribs, to the right of the scale bar):

As usual, we pulled out lots of teeth and fish bones. Keith joined us for the day, and found this lower tooth from an eagle ray, Aetobatus:

Tomorrow, if all goes well, we’ll flip the jacket over and see how the bones fared.

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3 Responses to Carmel Church Day 4

  1. Doug says:

    Man, Carmel Church is sounding like the excavation Olympics. And cool tooth. Also, I went to a museum in Bakersfield the other, so if you ever have some time to kill and want to look at some fantastic marine fossils (for being based on a private collection, they have some impressive specimens) from Sharktooth Hill, go here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jobaria/sets/72157604097042530/

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    Sharktooth Hill is also middle Miocene, but a few million years older than Carmel Church. It is also a fantastically dense bonebed, and extends over a very large area, so the total number of bones and teeth in that deposit is probably in the 10’s or 100’s of millions. It’s the first place we looked when trying to interpret Carmel Church. There are big differences between the two sites, though; Sharktooth Hill is an attritional deposit that formed over a long period of time, and lacks the large number of associated remains (articulated skeletons) that we find at Carmel Church.

  3. Doug says:

    Of course, of course. I’ll say it’s thick, the Buena Vista Museum (the museum where I took the pictures) does digs out there and they are finding quite a bit (including, if you looked through them, a couple sperm whale skulls and teeth from the extremely rare Pelagiarctos). I guess since we know it’s attritional, the question now is why did so much get preserved.

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