We started a bit late this morning, to give the quarry time to dry out after yesterday’s rain. As it turned out the pit was in good shape. Early in an excavation we dig drainage ditches to prevent the pit from flooding, and cover it with a tarp at night if rain is forecast. Both worked well last night, and we were able to get to work right away.
James and Courtland have been working the east side of the pit, finding several small fish bones and numerous chondrichthyan remains, including the partial ray spine shown above. Later in the day James found an additional vertebra, as well as a rib oriented vertically in the sediment:
Here’s the marked up version. The rib is on the left, with the new vertebra just to its right. The other two bones are the vertebrae James and Courtland found yesterday.
On the west side of the pit, Amanda, Drew, and Tim have been working on the weathered material in the front of the pit as well as the posterior end of a baleen whale dentary. After Tim found a tiny odontocete atlas vertebra yesterday, I was surprised when Amanda took two additional small odontocete vertebrae out of the same area today, a thoracic vertebra and a lumbar vertebra:
Now, I don’t know that these all belong to the same animal; in fact, I would be surprised if they do. For one thing, they are not consecutive vertebrae, nor would they even be close to one another in the vertebral column. Yet they’re all about the size you would expect them to be if they came from one animal, so finding all three of them in within a few centimeters of each other is intriguing.
By late afternoon we had made a trench around the baleen whale dentary:
This enabled us to make our first field jacket of this excavation:
It’s supposed to be hot but clear tomorrow, so I’m hoping we’ll make good progress.