Carmel Church Day 12

It rained last night and this morning, so we didn’t get into the pit until after lunch. Fortunately, our preparations last night kept everything in good shape, and the pit was pretty well drained. Our first task was to flip yesterday’s jacket, which went perfectly (above). Here’s the same jacket at the end of the day, after the bottom of the jacket had been added:

The removal of jacket 1 gave us better access to jacket 2, and we spent the next 5 hours working on its trench. This was complicated by the large amount of bone that had to be removed, including this nicely preserved lumbar vertebra:

We also had to remove a small rib, comparable in size to the ones we removed last Saturday. These are interesting ribs, which all seem to come from a small baleen whale. Here’s the rib cross section (this is for you, Brian):

This rib is quite dense. Brian Beatty and I talked about dense baleen whale ribs at some length in our paper last year. I suspect that this feature can be used to distinguish between odontocete and mysticete ribs, even when the animals are the same size.

After removing these bones we were finally ready to make the next jacket (CCQ-2010-02):

Here’s the the annotated version:

1: baleen whale rib
2: cetacean vertebral epiphysis
3: Isurus tooth
4-7: mystery bones, probably from whales (7 is really weird)
8: fish bone?
9: possible small cetacean vertebra

And here’s the completed jacket:

We plan to remove one more jacket this trip, although it’s going to be a tough one. I expect we’ll be working on it all day tomorrow.

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

3 Responses to Carmel Church Day 12

  1. Brian Beatty says:

    WOW! I wish I had been at Carmel Church this season, you’ve been finding some very interesting stuff. I agree, I think that that rib was a mysticete, and it wouldn’t be surprising if mysticete ribs are all osteosclerotic until the more recent taxa.
    Even if I don’t get a chance to visit the quarry anytime soon, perhaps I could stop in sometime to help prep things? We’re also setting up a prep lab at NYCOM, so if there are some specimens that need prep, once in a while I could drive down, pickup some jackets, and bring things back when they are completed. That way, prep work backlogs might be worked through, eh?

  2. Tony Edger says:

    This has been a great series of posts. Thanks for letting the world look over your shoulder.

  3. Alton Dooley says:

    Let me think, Brian…an offer of free labor…hmmm, YES! I’ll be in touch!

    It’s great to hear that the posts are appreciated (and that someone’s reading)!

    We finished up today (I’ll do a wrap-up post later), but I’ll be coming back to Carmel Church within a couple of months for the next excavation.

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