Carmel Church Day 5

As our pit has expanded things have been picking up a bit. Our biggest find today (actually, a small part was exposed yesterday) was a large baleen whale lower jaw. It’s visible in the image above as the long straight object in the middle of the picture, just below the scale bar. I think the light-colored mass at center right (below the plastic bag) might be the mandibular condyle at the back end of the jaw.

On our first day Tim began digging out a tiny patch of sediment that is packed full of bone. First he found a large number of fish cranial bones. Directly under them were a number of teeth, including this broken Isurus:

More spectacular was this lower tooth from the eagle ray Aetobatus:

All of these remains were high in the bonebed. Underneath these we got into the whale bones, such as this axis (2nd neck) vertebra:

And what about all those fish bones? They’re pretty badly fragmented, but I had some photos with me of a skull of a modern black drum (Pogonias) to use as a guide. Here’s the modern Pogonias in right lateral (side) view):

Here’s Tim’s fish skull in the same orientation (bone positions are approximate):

I’m not sure what species this skull represents, but it’s most remarkable feature is that it’s huge! The preserved portion is about 25 cm long, so the complete skull would have been well over a foot in length.

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

2 Responses to Carmel Church Day 5

  1. Tony Edger says:

    Is the fact that the whale bones are deeper in the bone bed a function of their greater weight, making them sink lower into the sediment?

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    I’m not sure. The whales aren’t always deeper (the axis vertebra, for instance, is still pretty high in the bonebed). It is something worth looking at, however; it might be that the very biggest whales sink a little further.

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