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Craig Little

Is This A Whale Ear Bone?

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Craig Little

It is similar to bones I have seen that have been identified as dolphin ear bones. So, I thought this larger one may be to a whale? In truth, its a wild guess.

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njfossilhunter

Sorry .....But Its very hard to tell if its the Bulla part of the ear bone and if it was....its a very large one... with most of it gone.

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Boesse

Yup, it's a tympanic bulla from a small baleen whale, probably a basal balaenopteroid such as Parietobalaena given the look of things. It is broken, but it's by no means difficult to tell the tympanic from the petrosal/periotic.

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MikeDOTB

Yep!

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NavyDad4

Nice find!

You can compare your whale ear with one I found at the Green Mill Run, Greenville, NC earlier this month.

The experienced fossil head who id'd my find said the size of the ear determines the whale species since whale ears are full-size at birth. Let's see what the others say....

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Boesse

It is true that size is important, as they are born with (mostly) fully formed earbones. That being said, that doesn't mean that broken specimens that happen to preserve the length (and little else) are informative; different lengths are mostly useful to tell apart closely related "types" with similar morphology, if the specimens are roughly complete.

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