Carmel Church Day 3

Too many bones!

Yesterday we found that the apparent paired bones on the right side of our pit were in fact the posterior end of a crushed mandible. Today we found that the mandible is complete, although broken into a large number of pieces. In the photo at the top you can see the anterior part of the mandible extending out on the left side of the pit.

This is fairly odd preservation, even for Carmel Church. We seem to have the posterior end of a cranium that’s blown apart, with most of the pieces present but disarticulated and rotated relative to each other. The mandible is either underneath, or actually jammed through the braincase. There are also a mess of ribs scattered over and around the skull. I have no idea yet whether or not these specimens come from one individual, but there’s no reason to assume they do.

This also makes collection rather difficult, especially with our tight time constraints (I have to finish by Wednesday). With the mandible broken into pieces and the skull on top, we can’t easily get this into a single jacket. Therefore, we’re going to take the posterior and anterior ends of the mandible out as separate pieces (we removed the posterior end today). The middle portion will be taken out in the same jacket that contains the skull.

We also had some interesting small finds today. Josh Morriss found a very interesting odontocete tooth:

This tooth has a conical, slightly recurved crown with no cutting edges, and a large, bulbous root. I don’t recall seeing a tooth like this at Carmel Church previously.

We also found this interesting battery of fish teeth:

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

3 Responses to Carmel Church Day 3

  1. Boesse says:

    Could that tooth be from some sort of a small physeterid? It looks similar to some small teeth from the “Scaldicetus” ‘morph’ that are about that size; In fact, I collected one in the last week of august from the Purisima, and it looks nearly identical to that, albeit with a slightly more inflated root. Neat!

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    It could be a physeterid, I suppose. But if it is, it’s a new one for the Calvert Formation. The only “Scaldicetus“-type teeth known from the Calvert are huge.

    In size it’s similar to the unnamed “medium-sized kentriodontid” known from the upper Calvert, but the tooth morphology is different; it doesn’t really look like a kentriodontid.

  3. Brian Beatty says:

    I’ve seen teeth like that from FL as well. To me it looks like it would have come from the posterior portion of the toothrow, but that is hard to tell with many groups, especially physteroids. I’m becoming obsessed with dental variation from front to back in fossil odontocetes, and this sort of thing just amplifies it. It sure would help if that variation was only found in the crown, instead of the crown and the roots…. ugh!

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