In the zone, the wash zone 1/3/2009Had a nice trip this weekend with some members of the phatfossils site and was able to walk one of my favorite beaches with them. The cool part about this site is that if the wind conditions are right you can be walking right on a lot of formation and that particular zone has a history of when you find something it can be associated.
Well, after blabbing on about how I was shocked that they had never found any associated remains in the beach clay I found some of the way out. I at first thought it might be a high-spirited prank on their part but their shocked faces had me convinced this was the real deal.
Right in the wash zone - a string of 10 articulated porpoise vertebra lay on top of the beach clay. The freeze thaw had totally "popped" them out of the clay and they were found being rocked in place by the low wave action. Even though found in place either the wave action, the freeze thaw or peoples footsteps had snapped off all but one of the neural arches on all 10 of the verts making a field assessment rather hard. The guys gave me a hand and we placed them in order in a gallon Ziploc baggie and went on our way. It was getting dark and we had been on the beach for hours and we just couldn’t understand how we and the others on the beach had missed these all day.
Only when I got home did I realize that they were not thoracic to caudal but are thoracic towards cranial so I think it would be a very good idea to keep an eye on that spot. They seem a little small for Eurhinodelphis but the epiphyses were fused so it was an adult, whatever it is. Times like that I wish I had a GPS or some other good way to mark a spot that doesn't seem like a mark to others... Honestly I'm not sure that I could find the spot again since there was no clear reference point and the beach can change so much here. Still, the more I think about it I feel like an idiot for not digging around in that clay on the beach for more of those verts and/or the skull. It could have been only a few centimeters just below the clay…
Did OK with sharks teeth on the trip. No pristine, humongous Megs but some nice sized and sweet conditioned makos. Tow over two inches and 4 other nice ones over 1.5"; fragments of megs and makos and a cool porpoise tooth rounded out the haul. The phatfossil fellows’ best stuff was a huge mako for one and a massive drum fish lower jaw for the other that seemed to have been part of a coprolite. A good day for all.
|Westmoreland County, Virginia, USA
|Total length of the vertebras placed in life position column laid back to back is 20 inches. Smallest vert has a 1" centrum, largest is at 2".
|Another view of the verts