With the vertebrae out of the way, we were able to go further into the hillside today. Yesterday’s jacket ended at the bottom of the shoulder blade, and I’m pretty sure the light-colored bone under my arm in the photo above is the humerus (arm bone) that articulated with that scapula. Meanwhile, Tim worked behind the large rock at the top of the bonebed, trying to find the end of a mass of ribs in that area:
I thought that once we got past the mass of ribs and vertebrae that the bonebed might thin out a little (we have occasionally found pockets up to a foot or two in diameter that only had a few bones). But that didn’t work out; the bonebed seems to be continuing at the same density as before. Here’s the area immediately behind the vertebra jacket:
The vertebra jacket originally sat at the bottom of the photo. The solid scale bar is 10 cm. There are at least 23 bones visible. The large white mass in the lower left is the humerus. The white bone immediately to the right of the humerus is unidentified. The two bones running parallel to each other, just to the right of center, might be the radius and ulna (forearm). Most of the other long bones are ribs, but two of them might be metacarpals (hand bones). Two of the small round bones may be carpals (wrist bones), and most of the rest are unidentified. Obviously, it appears that we may have a large part of the flipper, although the wrist and hand seem to be disarticulated (it’s surprising that we have them at all). The area on the left of the image has not yet been excavated; the vertebral column continues just out of view on the right.
The winner of the 10,000th page view contest was Will Kennerley of Burke, Virginia. Congratulations, Will!