Chuckatuck, Virginia is a small town in Isle of Wight County that sits near the James River. Over the years several quarries have been opened in or near the town, all of which exposed the Moore House Member of the Yorktown Formation. The Moore House is the youngest member of the Yorktown, and is late Pliocene in age (~ 3.5 million years). The Moore House is known for its abundant and diverse mollusk fauna, and nowhere is this displayed better than at Chuckatuck, which has an absolutely staggering number of shells. Mostly through the efforts of Buck Ward, VMNH has a collection of many thousands of shells from Chuckatuck, taking up more than a full case in the invertebrate collection storage room.
Whales have also been found at Chuckatuck, but they’re not common. More precisely, as far as I know there have been just two whale bones found there. The recent discussions on the blog about barnacles reminded me of these bones, and I decided to write a post about each of them.
One of the two bones is a large mysticete lumbar vertebra. Other than the fact that it comes from the Moore House, this wouldn’t normally be a very remarkable bone. However, this specimen is covered with barnacles:
Next time, I’ll look at the other whale bone from Chuckatuck.