Just before I left for Carmel Church we opened one of the jackets containing the skull of “Popeye“, a baleen whale from Carmel Church that we collected over five separate excavations during 2008-2009. Volunteers Martha and James began removing sediment from the jacket; the image above shows how it looked after the first few days.
There’s a lot going on here, and I don’t fully understand it yet. The majority of the bone is from “Popeye’s” skull, specifically the rostrum and lower jaws. Here’s a partially marked-up version:
Anterior is to the left. Red is the left dentary (lower jaw), green is the left maxilla, and blue is the left premaxilla (both parts of the upper jaw). It looks like the right side is also present, but that was the more heavily weathered side so it’s not as well preserved. There are a bunch of bones from other animals, only a few of which have been identified.
We’re now removing the individual pieces from the jacket and trying to reconstruct the various bones, so over the next few months I’ll be periodically posting updates on our progress. If you live in the Martinsville area or have a chance to visit the museum, this jacket is currently front and center in our exhibit lab.