This week we opened the first of 17 jackets from the Yorktown whale, which we’ve nicknamed “Cornwallis”. I had not planned to open any of these jackets until the fall, but it turns out we needed a large whale vertebra for a temporary exhibit opening at VMNH this summer, and “Cornwallis” is the largest whale we have.
The particular jacket we opened was one of the posterior thoracics, seen here during the excavation:
The initial work on the vertebra is being done by William and Mary student Kat Turk, who helped with the excavation and is spending her summer volunteering in the VMNH lab:
I expect this vertebra will only take a few weeks to prepare, and we may go ahead and open some of the easier “Cornwallis” jackets this summer.