We’ve had such poor luck over the last few days that I was considering wrapping up the excavation today. We spent most of the morning removing the few bones that were exposed in the pit, and checking the surface for bones that had weathered out over winter. We had some success with this; Josh found the large Carcharocles megalodon tooth shown above.
Mike also did well with the surface material. This doesn’t look like much now, but it seems to be a complete upper dentition from a ray:
These are exceptionally rare; we’ve previously only found four largely complete ray dentitions.
We successfully removed several bones from the pit, including a partial whale scapula the Tim found yesterday:
We’ve also saved several nice pieces of wood, such as this one that Drew collected:
Of course, paleontologists always claim that the best discoveries always occur at the end of an excavation. That holds for us too. Late in the afternoon, removing what we thought were the last few bones from the pit, Shana and Mike found a whole pile of bones going into the hill:
The biggest part of this is a bunch of dentary material (again!), as outlined below:
I’m not sure the two outlined fragments represent the same dentary. While they trend in roughly the same direction, they’re not aligned with each other, and the anterior piece (on the right) sits about 5 cm lower than the portion on the left. So these may be two different dentaries. There are also several smaller, unidentified bones sitting around them.
So now we’re not planning to leave in the morning. We’ll probably end up staying through the weekend in an attempt to remove these bones.