First Carmel Church seal tooth

While we were at Carmel Church a few weeks ago, intern Judi Sclafani collected a bucket of rocks and sediment from the Calvert Formation to take a look at the sediment lithology. Upon returning to the museum she began cleaning the rocks and several small bones turned up in the sediment (bones really are that common at Carmel Church).

One of the fossils she found in her sample was the small tooth shown above. This is a single-rooted tooth with a complete, hook-like crown, and is almost certainly an incisor from a carnivore. While I haven’t completely ruled out terrestrial carnivores, this tooth seems to most likely be from a seal. We have already found a small number of seal bones at the quarry – three, to be exact (a femur, a vertebra, and a metatarsal), but this is the first tooth. Curiously, all the seal remains were found within 20 feet of each other, but there’s nothing to indicate that they came from one individual.

If you look closely at the image, you can also see two distinct wear facets on the tooth. There’s a small, flat one near the base of the crown, and near the apex there’s a larger one that has actually worn all the way through the enamel.

This entry was posted in Carmel Church Quarry, Carmel Church sirenians and pinnipeds, Chesapeake Group. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to First Carmel Church seal tooth

  1. boesse says:

    So what else is known from the Calvert besides Leptophoca? I recently scanned Koretsky (2001) which has some rather small images of Leptophoca inside it.

  2. Alton Dooley says:

    Pliophoca is known from the early Pliocene on the Atlantic coast, and several different taxa have been reported from Lee Creek Mine, but I think they’re all from the Yorktown Fm (Pliocene).

  3. Brian Beatty says:

    Sorry I haven’t been on much lately, it has been a terribly busy summer….

    That’s some interesting wear on the tooth – very reminiscent of the interdigitating wear found on some fossil seals Irina once showed me long, long ago.

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