Carmel Church Day 10

One of the “joys” of doing online daily progress reports about an excavation is that when you make a bone-headed mistake (pun intended), the whole world gets to hear about it.

Two days ago I showed pictures of a partial fish skeleton, that included six vertebrae. One of these vertebrae was a little larger than the others, and set off from them a bit. Here’s a closeup of it from Monday:

The vertebra is the round object near the center, flanked by two large rocks. The portion exposed here is comparable in size and shape to this fish vertebra, which we collected last year about 5 feet away:

Today I had a chance to work on this bone some more, in an attempt to get a trench dug around it (top). This is what I found:

In fact, the supposed giant fish vertebra is a small baleen whale atlas vertebra (the first bone in the neck). Oh, well. It’s still a nice find, the other five vertebrae are still fish, and I still believe those five are from the same individual.

The embarrassing misidentification aside, we had a highly productive day. In the morning we were visited by Mark Goethel and David MacDonald from Martin Marietta Materials. Carmel Church is a Martin Marietta quarry, and it’s through their generosity that we’ve been able to access the site over these last two decades.

We also made a lot of progress on our trenches, and we should be able to begin jacketing tomorrow or Friday. We also pulled some interesting bones out of our trenches today, including a humerus (upper arm bone) from a small toothed whale:

…as well as this beautiful tooth from the mako shark Isurus:

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This entry was posted in Carmel Church Chondrichthyans, 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 10

  1. Doug says:

    hey, we all make mistakes. Recently Megarachne was found to be not a spider but a sea scorpion. And never forget the whole brontosaurus/apatosaurus skull thing. And of course, the whole “Nebraska man” fiasco. So i wouldn’t be too worried about screwing up a preliminary field identification

  2. boesse says:

    That’s not so bad – at least the identification of “vertebra” didn’t change. I’ve had worse, I’ll be honest.

  3. Alton Dooley says:

    Oh, I’ve made much bigger mistakes than that one; just before I started blogging!

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