Diorocetus update

On March 31, 2007, the new VMNH building opened to the public for the first time. As part of the opening event, we opened our largest jacket, a whale skull collected from Carmel Church in May, 2005:

That jacket is finally finished. Last week we completed the storage jacket for that skull, which I now believe is Diorocetus hiatus. Here’s the completed jacket:

The top of the page shows the completed skull in dorsal view, and here is the same skull in ventral view (this photo was taken late in the day, when the sun shines into the lab from the museum lobby):

Only 60 more Carmel Church jackets to go (plus what I collect this year)!

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This entry was posted in "Sinistra", Carmel Church mysticetes, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Diorocetus update

  1. Boesse says:

    I don’t know what it is, but something brings a tear to my eye when I see baleen whale fossils this complete. OK, not quite that dramatic, but there’s just something inherently ‘pretty’ about mysticete (well, cetaceans in general) skulls; I guess the long rostral elements just look damn neat.

    Again, beautiful skull! Now – how many crania are there of D. hiatus? There’s this one, and the holotype, obviously, but are there others? Gottfried et al. list it also from the Choptank. Just curious…

  2. Doug says:

    Congrats on getting that finished. I remember when it was just the front end of the rostrum. I would say that preparation on a specimen is officially complete when it gets a storage jacket.

    Boesse,
    For some reason baleen whale skulls hev never been that interesting to me. Now complete elephant (mammoth, mastodon, etc) skulls is a different story. But given how many whale skulls are incomplete, i wouldn’t say you’re unjustified in your thoughts!

  3. Alton Dooley says:

    Diorocetus is known from at least three good skulls, including this one. There are also a lot of less complete remains. I’m pretty confident about the identification of this one, at least so far. There are only two major areas where this specimen differs from the type material — the shape of the nasals (which are damaged in the type) and the shape of the anterior end of premaxillae. This specimen is an adult and the type is a juvenile (I think), so there could be some ontogenetic variation involved.

    I haven’t completely compared the earbones yet, so it’s still possible I could change my mind on this ID, but for now I’m fairly confident.

  4. Boesse says:

    Thanks for the info – I’m not as familiar with ‘cetotheres’ sensu lato as I am with other mysticetes (i.e. Herpetocetines).

    Anyway, its a beautiful specimen! Congrats!

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