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:
We also found this interesting battery of fish teeth: