Carmel Church Day 2

Things started drying out today, and Tim and I moved perhaps a half-ton of sediment before lunch. By around 2:00 pm we were into the bonebed, with several small bits and pieces of bone exposed. In the image above, “1” is a vertebra, “2” is an isolated vertebral epiphysis, and “3” is a small rib, all from whales. The vertebra is particularly interesting, because I’m pretty sure it’s the next vertebra in the skeleton we’ve been excavating over the last year. It appears that this will be the most complete skeleton we’ve ever collected at Carmel Church.

I mentioned a sunfish jaw (actually the fused premaxillae) in today’s Twitter feed; here it is in dorsal (left) and occlusal (right) views:

This is at least the third sunfish jaw from this pit, although the other two have caused me to have some doubts about how these bones are interpreted.

Some other goodies from today include a partial dentary (lower jaw) from some type of bony fish:

A scrap of rib, probably from a small odontocete, which in itself is not very interesting but that has been absolutely demolished by bite marks:

Here’s a short video of a killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) that apparently lives in the quarry; we saw it three times today, and killdeer often nest in gravel (I’ve also seen them at Solite). Killdeer will try to lead predators away from their nests, which is apparently what this one was trying to do.

This entry was posted in "Popeye", Carmel Church Osteichthyans, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group, Modern critters. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Carmel Church Day 2

  1. Anonymous says:

    Enjoying your reports from Carmel Church. Looks like you are finding some very interesting material.

  2. It’s hard for me to imagine those wedge shapes as sunfish jaws, or jaws of any kind (save maybe a parrotfish). Any chance of seeing a reconstruction, showing how that piece fit into the larger animal?

  3. Alton Dooley says:

    There’s a closeup of the mouth of a modern sunfish at:

    There are also excellent photos of a stranded sunfish, including the mouth, at:

    There was a nearly complete sunfish skeleton from the (I think) Oligocene of Austria described last year in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, which is unfortunately not open access; the head was not well preserved in that specimen, however.

  4. Alton Dooley says:

    All of these specimens, incidentally, come from approximately 1 square foot of the bonebed, but I’ve only included photos of the most interesting specimens (we collected about 30 shark teeth so far from the same area).

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