I’ve mentioned several times the fairly large number of land mammals found at Carmel Church, relative to the size of the exposure. One of the more unusual animals found there is a member of the family Dromomerycidae.
The Carmel Church dromomerycid material (which is the only specimen of this family known from Virginia) includes associated (!) hind limb material, including a partial left femur, both tibiae with the fused tips of the fibulae, and part of the fused 3rd and 4th metatarsals:
Dromomerycids are an interesting group of artiodactyls, found in the Miocene and Pliocene of North America. They were probably deer-like in their habits and general appearance, although they had true horns rather than antlers. Most had a horn growing above each eye, and some had a third horn growing from the back of the skull (as in this example of Procranioceras from AMNH):
I haven’t been able to identify the Carmel Church remains to genus (and it may not be possible to do so), but the overall shape and details of the anatomy are consistent with other dromomerycids, except for size. Here’s the tibia compared to Procranioceras skinneri (AMNH specimen):
And the other tibia next to Pediomeryx (FLMNH specimen):
Clearly the Carmel Church animal is quite a bit smaller than these. We could be dealing with a juvenile, although I suspect from the general appearance of the bone that’s not the case. There are smaller dromomerycids known from this time period, so the Carmel Church animal could be one of these.
And here’s one other neat feature of these bones – they have a number of bite marks, likely caused by sharks scavenging the carcass after it floated out to sea: