Deformed shark vertebra

On our last day at Carmel Church we collected this very large, 6-cm-diameter shark vertebra from near the top of the bonebed. I think this is the largest shark vertebra we’ve ever collected there, although I have a few incomplete specimens in the collection that may have been about as large.

This specimen was lying at an angle of perhaps 45 degrees relative to bedding, and shows some remarkable post-burial deformation that was apparently caused by the weight of the overlying sediment. One of the conical faces of the centrum is fractured (brittle deformation):

However, in lateral few it appears that some of the stress was accommodated by ductile deformation rather than fracturing (look at the struts connecting the cones):

I’m not sure what kind of shark this vertebra came from. It seems generally consistent in size and morphology with a large lamnoid shark such as Isurus or Carcharocles (it would have to be a small individual), both of which are known from Carmel Church.

This entry was posted in Carmel Church Chondrichthyans, Carmel Church Quarry, Chesapeake Group. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Deformed shark vertebra

  1. This would have been cartilage, right? That’s more flexible than bone… What is it made of now?

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    Shark vertebral centra ossify as the shark gets older, so this would essentially be bone (although with perhaps a significant cartilage component). The preserved part should all be bone; we don’t seem to get any soft tissue preservation at Carmel Church.

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