Laura Kellam and I returned to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences yesterday to meet with Vince Schneider for further examination of the Balaenula skull from Lake Waccamaw. Craig Fitzpatrick has been fabricating and armature to support the cranium, and with most of the structure no in place we can get much cleaner photos of the reconstructed skull.
Here’s a lateral view, showing nicely the extreme arching the the upper jaws in right whales:
With the skull flipped over, and using several modern right whales in the NCSM collection for comparison, we were able to attach some additional fragments to the ventral side of the skull, including part of the right palatine (outlined in red):
We made a lot of progress yesterday measuring and describing this specimen, and should have lots more to report in the coming months.