Carmel Church Day 4

We continued plugging away at the vertebral column today. because of the size of the skeleton and the density of bone, as usual I just had to go ahead and pick a spot to force our trench through. The photo above shows where were going, which required removing the large light-colored object in the foreground (which is actually some type of reworked fossil), as well as the platy bone on top of it, and the vertebra sticking up in the back.

It took most of the day, and required breaking the processes, but we eventually removed the vertebra. Turning it over, we found one of the phalanges (finger bones) stuck to it:

In fact, the phalange was pressed into the vertebra so tightly that it had crushed the adjacent transverse process, as can be seen in the photo below after the processes were reattached:

The forecast has changed, and now NOAA is predicting snow tonight. We’ll have to wait and see how bad it gets, but one way or another we’ll be jacketing those vertebrae and flipper bones this week.

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

3 Responses to Carmel Church Day 4

  1. Alton Dooley says:

    Snow and sleet all day today, so no digging. We should be able to start again tomorrow, though.

  2. Doug says:

    Until then, how about a question to kill the time. You find so many whales at Carmel Church, but how many whale skulls have you found?

  3. Alton Dooley says:

    Well, off the top of my head:

    1 skull of Diorocetus (with skeleton)
    2 skulls of something like Metopocetus (one with partial skeleton, unprepared)
    1 very fragmentary skull of Eobalaenoptera (~10% preserved, part of the type material)
    3 unidentified “cetothere” skulls (two unprepared, and the other doesn’t represent any taxon listed above)
    2 mysticete rostra lacking the cranium
    Numerous skull fragments, especially squamosals (one is likely Aglaocetus), petrosals, and tympanic bullae (one petrosal doesn’t seem to represent any of the taxa mentioned above)

    2 skulls of Xiphiacetus (one almost complete)
    Lower jaws, petrosals, and teeth representing at least 4 other odontocete taxa

    I might have missed some, but that’s the majority (not including the St. Marys fossils).

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