Carmel Church Day 1

We went back into the Carmel Church Quarry this morning, and we plan to be here excavating for the next two weeks. During our previous excavation (last March) we were removing a whale skeleton that just won’t end; we’ve already removed something like 22 vertebrae, and they’re still going. We left three vertebrae partially exposed last March, which we covered with a temporary jacket to protect them (above). The temporary jacket stood up well, and when we removed it the vertebrae were well preserved underneath:

We also found a few phalanges (finger bones) from the flipper, most of which was removed in March. One of these bones is visible at left center above, and here’s another one, after removal:

Things progressed rapidly today, and by late afternoon we had found the next vertebra in the series (just right of center, next to the screwdriver):

The next thing has nothing to do with paleontology, but it’s just too wicked cool to leave out. We have a lot of spider wasps around Carmel Church. These are wasps that paralyze spiders and then bury them with a wasp egg, to give the larva something to eat. We sometimes find the eaten-out husks of the spiders’ bodies buried in the tailings. Apparently, the wasps will also use crickets, as seen in the video I shot right beside our pit today. (Note: the video is not sped up; the wasp is just that fast!). I also love how, about 2/3 of the way into the video, it uses a fossil shark tooth to help camouflage the spot where the cricket is buried:

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

2 Responses to Carmel Church Day 1

  1. Doug says:

    Woo hoo! More Carmel Church live blogging! The video sounds exciting, but quicktime is still not working.

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    I’m glad Carmel Church is so popular! More coming tonight, as soon as I can get the pictures uploaded.

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