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Ancient whale skull

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  • korzon12
    MSNBC - Ancient whale skull left in hurricane s wake Address:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4110784/
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 1, 2004
      MSNBC - Ancient whale skull left in hurricane's wake
      Address:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4110784/
    • korzon12
      ...  Thursday at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Md. DiMeglio discovered= the bones in September after Hurricane Isabel eroded the coastline. In the
      Message 2 of 2 , Feb 1, 2004
        --- In archaeology2@yahoogroups.com, korzon12 <no_reply@y...> wrote:
        > MSNBC - Ancient whale skull left in hurricane's wake
        > Address:http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4110784/

        ************
        Ancient whale skull left in hurricane's wake
        Sleuth finds 8-million-year-old fossil on Maryland coast
        Matt Houston / AP
        Jeff DiMeglio talks about the remains of an 8-million-year-old whale fossil=
         Thursday at the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Md. DiMeglio discovered=
        the bones in September after Hurricane Isabel eroded the coastline. In the =
        background is the museum's curator of paleontology, Stephen Godfrey, who was=
        called to excavate the fossil.
        INTERACTIVE
        By By Stephen Manning
        The Associated Press
        SOLOMONS, Md. - Days after Hurricane Isabel ravaged the cliffs lining St. M=
        ary’s River last year, Jeff DiMeglio and his girlfriend went scouring for =
        shark teeth and found what DiMeglio, an experienced fossil hunter, recognize=
        d as the rib of a whale.
        He immediately covered the findings and contacted a museum. Heavy erosion f=
        rom the storm had unearthed the complete fossilized skull of what paleontolo=
        gists say was an 8-million-year-old whale.
        The find is important because little is known about whales of that era, sai=
        d Stephen Godfrey, curator of paleontology for the Calvert Marine Museum.
        The remains were shown to the media Thursday at the museum, where scientist=
        s are carefully chipping away sediment around the 5½-foot skull with hopes =
        of one day putting it on display.
        Disaster and opportunity
        The hurricane that unearthed the fossil last September was Maryland’s wor=
        st-ever natural disaster, blamed for dozens of deaths and costing the state =
        and local governments at least $275 million.
        Isabel’s surge collapsed bulkheads and seawalls, exposing parts of shorel=
        ine.
        Matt Houston / AP
        The embedded ribs of an 8-million-year-old whale fossil are on display at t=
        he Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons, Md.
        Most residents were dismayed by the erosion. Not Godfrey: Southern Maryland=
        ’s cliffs that harbor a rich source of marine fossils, including thousands=
        of prehistoric shark teeth and whale bones.
        There is some angst watching the cliffs disappear, but it’s great for pal=
        eontology,” he said.
        To free the fossil from the ground, scientists swathed it in burlap and pla=
        ster-of-paris, creating a hard cast, then called on the Patuxent Naval Air S=
        tation. A search-and-rescue team rappelled from a helicopter, attached the f=
        ossil to a cable and flew it out.
        Scientists couldn’t find the spine of the 18-foot whale but did recover s=
        ome vertebrae, a neck bone, a fin and a shoulder blade.
        How the whale lived and died
        The fossil was found in an area where the water would have been shallow, an=
        d he believes the whale lived at a time when warm temperatures spread across=
        the Atlantic Ocean.
        Godfrey thinks it was a baleen whale, but he doesn’t know if it was an an=
        cestor of modern baleen whales, like the humpback, or part of an extinct lin=
        e.
        There are a few clues to how it may have died. Teeth marks score part of th=
        e bone, and the fossilized teeth of giant mako and cow sharks also were foun=
        d among the bones.
        2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
         
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