Monday, November 20, 2017

A Very Paleo Day

Because of strong north winds yesterday, we had a "blow out" low tide today, and a friend who is a true fossil fanatic asked if I was interested in helping he and a crew of Calvert Marine Museum personnel and volunteers excavate a whale skull that he had spotted many months previously at a beach nearby. After getting permission from the land owner, he had to wait for a good low tide, because the bones were located below the mean low water level.

Here is the whale skull as he found it, just barely protruding from the hard shelly gray clay. The dark backwards "C" shape is the brain case, while below it, barely visible, a long jaw bone runs lower left to a little higher right.
After digging a trench around it out an inch or two from it (and finding a few more pieces of bone, and one crocodile coprolith, yeah, look that up), we covered the exposed bone with wet paper towels, to keep the plaster jacket from sticking to the bone.
The plaster jacket. At this point, we wrapped a chain around it and had a small 4 wheeler pull under the pedestal and break it loose. Then with all 6 guys lifting, we managed to (barely) get the thing up into the back of the 4 wheeler, and back to the parking lot down the beach.
The tide was almost back in by then; we only had a few more minutes to go.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, with me absent Georgia drove Skye to the beach for a walk, and made two pretty rare finds. On the left, a crocodile tooth, and center, a battered Megalodon, 2 full inches despite the damage, in addition to the far more typical tooth on the right. Easily the biggest tooth of the year, if not the prettiest. The croc tooth is pretty good too.

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