Some time ago I posted a photo of the tooth shown on the left above when I was talking about sperm whales from the Calvert Formation. I didn’t mention at the time that it was the only known tooth from the Calvert Formation at Carmel Church. (There is a sperm whale from the St. Marys Formation at Carmel Church.) However, that’s no longer the case.
Today I was showing a high school student around the collections as part of a job shadow program. Since I’ve been going through the type Eobalaenoptera material in preparation for my SEAVP talk I decided to show her some of the material in those cases (it has never been completely prepared and sorted). While scanning over this material I spotted the tooth on the right above, the second Calvert sperm whale tooth identified from Carmel Church (although it was the first one collected, by 15 years!). Like the other tooth, it’s a fairly typical “Orycterocetus”-type tooth, small and with no enamel.
The next picture is intended to intrigue Brian Beatty, who has done some work on tooth wear. The wear patterns in these two teeth are quite different. The 2006 tooth (on the left) has a strong curved wear facet along one side of the tip of the tooth, while the 1991 tooth (on the right) has a broadly worn tip, which I think is more similar to the wear seen in modern sperm whales.
Of course, as can be seen in the Rappahannock sperm whale (as well as other large-toothed sperm whales like Zygophyseter) the wear patterns on physeteroid teeth can vary substantially in a single individual from one part of the mouth to the other, so this is likely not of any taxonomic significance. However, it may be useful in determining feeding habits in these whales, especially once a larger sample size is collected.