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susiesyzygy

So is this a Mosasaurus vertebrae or am I dreaming?

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susiesyzygy

Hi everyone. So I've an old HS fb friend who found this doing tractor mowing in an area called Sand Knob. Ky is littered with these knobs, similar to a mountain range. My question is, could this possibly be an 85 million yr old fossil from the Cretaceous Period? (The last time oceans were in Western ky) It appears to be a whale vertebrae to me and others but they insist it was "dropped" or "planted". This 100% was not randomly buried by a trickster in a remote area of Casey Co. This sandy Knob region could be the banks of the Mississippian range. They are actually. Similar to how beached whales wash up on the beach, this creature, with a rise in sea levels, could very well have been deposited here. It's approximately 200mls away to the western region that known Cretaceous fossils have been found. Could this change the map in terms of Period location? Do the sandy knobs represent the banks of a past, epic event in sea levels rising? What catastrophic event would send sea levels 200mls East? Meteor? Ice caps melting? Mosasaur was known to crawl to land to give birth could this have been the leftovers of a takeaway dinner? Lol

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Laditz

I agree with you that this looks like a Whale vertabrae.

And Mosasaurus crawling on land? Love to see that lol :headscratch:

 

By the way: no clue how it got there, but i'm sure someone here has the explanation!

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-AnThOnY-

Wow, that is a gorgeous vertebrae. And big, too. 

 

It would certainly be an oddball cretaceous fossil being that far away from any mapped cretaceous.

 

Also, with both faces of the vertebral body being concave makes me lean away from mosasaur. I have never heard of whale material from up there.. Even if someone planted it, its real and pretty!

 

Large plesiosaur maybe? 

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susiesyzygy

Thank you Laditz. I hope so. I also was thinking of the Plesiosaur fossil they found when I said I read they gave birth on land.  Oops... But who knows what they'll find next! Lol

Edited by susiesyzygy
Change u to I

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susiesyzygy

Thank you Anthony! I've emailed University of Kentucky and hopfully they can come down here and do some digging. I bet those knobs are full of fossils Plesiosaur or Mosasaur either would be great finds for that area. I couldn't find a great topographic map but it seemed to me the knobs were the end of some waterway event. Thanks again. 

Edited by susiesyzygy
Omit word

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JohnJ

Welcome to The Forum.

 

Your vertebra is most likely mammalian.  The shape has a little in common with Cretaceous reptiles, but the other characteristics are not reptilian.  And...the idea that mosasaurs crawled on land is a notion that the evidence led science away from for quite a while.  ;) 

 

@Boesse

@Harry Pristis

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LordTrilobite

Looks like whale to me.

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-AnThOnY-

It certainly looks like it could be, but would have to be imported to that location somehow then, yeah?

 

From what I can tell in quick searches, nothing younger than Paleocene produced marine environments in Kentucky. Anyone have a better water level map that shows anything in that area?

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Harry Pristis

 

I have little to offer here, I fear.  Suppose for a second that the "knobs" are moraines -- a (dissected) terminal, lateral, or drumlins.  That might allow the vertebra to be much younger and to have originated elsewhere.  I don't recognize the bone; and, of course, a whale vert can't be older than Eocene.  You don't find many large fossils in glacial material, but conceivably this one could have been 'snow-plowed' for a short distance without being ground to gravel.  Just a guess.

 

 

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susiesyzygy

Thank you for your all's input. I just got an email from a geologist. Hopfully, he can tell us what this thing is. Lol it looks like whale to me also. 

Screenshot_2018-05-08-15-39-14.png

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WhodamanHD
19 minutes ago, susiesyzygy said:

Thank you for your all's input. I just got an email from a geologist. Hopfully, he can tell us what this thing is. Lol it looks like whale to me also

I think he may be referring to placoderms, a large one with a size like that. From what I’ve seen of placoderm vertabrae (admittedly very little) they look different. I’m going with whale. I’m sure Dr. Boessenecker will know for sure.

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Sagebrush Steve
15 hours ago, susiesyzygy said:

Thank you for your all's input. I just got an email from a geologist. Hopfully, he can tell us what this thing is. Lol it looks like whale to me also. 

Good initiative on your part to make that contact.  Hopefully they will be able to make an ID.  Keep us posted!

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susiesyzygy

I shall! Thanks so much. 

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Troodon

Welcome to the forum.  Looks like a whale vertebra  to me like this one

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Plax

and probably from one of the phosphate mines in NC or FL

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jpc

This is 99% likely to be a whale vert in my book.  What's it doing there is a more interesting problem.  

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susiesyzygy

Thanks to you all for the informative posts. I have been looking at the transitional phases of the whale's evolution. It seems to jump from wolf like creature to a crocodile like reptile. I wonder if this vertebrae could be from a whale that still hunted land. The size of one of it's transitions was 14' ft long before it became a total sea mammal. I watched a video that showed one whale even swimming tributaries on a desperate hunt for food. Not sure. I feel like the Interior Seaway's rise and fall may have stranded this one in a pool. A lot of guessing. Lol ...Cheers!

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JohnJ

I think you can look for a more recent explanation on this vertebra.  Whether 50 years ago, 200 years ago, or several thousand years ago, this made it to that "sandy knob" via human transport...and likely the result of a fascinating journey.  

 

:) 

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siteseer
On 5/9/2018 at 3:09 PM, susiesyzygy said:

Thanks to you all for the informative posts. I have been looking at the transitional phases of the whale's evolution. It seems to jump from wolf like creature to a crocodile like reptile. I wonder if this vertebrae could be from a whale that still hunted land. The size of one of it's transitions was 14' ft long before it became a total sea mammal. I watched a video that showed one whale even swimming tributaries on a desperate hunt for food. Not sure. I feel like the Interior Seaway's rise and fall may have stranded this one in a pool. A lot of guessing. Lol ...Cheers!

 

The vertebra is too big to have belonged to one of the "walking whales" and from the wrong part of the world.  Those whales lived in the region of Pakistan.

 

I'd have to check but I don't think the Gulf of Mexico stretched any closer to Kentucky than somewhere in central Alabama or Mississippi in the Middle Eocene.  The Atlantic might have been connected by rivers to as far as Michigan from the northeast but only as long ago as the Pleistocene.

 

Someone in the last 100 years might have picked up the vertebra (either found it on the east coast or bought it as a curiosity somewhere) and lived in that area in some building that no longer exists.  The vertebra ended up in a field forgotten when the person moved on or passed away.

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susiesyzygy

Thank you. Yes, that's what I was told 4 years ago also. Depressing... I had read that they were plentiful in some areas and people would use them as fireplace props, doorstops and the like. Not as exciting but probably correct. Sigh*  Have a great Mother's Day and w.e.

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Boesse

Hi all - everyone has reached a consensus on this being whale in my absence, to which I agree! This is a lumbar vertebra of a large cetacean. There are Eocene basilosaurid whales with vertebrae this big - but the transverse processes stick down at an angle and not horizontally like in this specimen, which looks like a Miocene or Pliocene specimen. So yes, it is whale, and no, it's not from Kentucky. Unless you have a photograph of someone pulling this out of the ground in Kentucky, I don't believe it's from there.

 

Fossil whale vertebrae from Miocene-Pliocene deposits on the east coast end up all over the place - like you said, people use them as doorstops. I once was asked to identify a weird bone sitting in a pile outside a small museum in eastern Montana - my friend, the curator, did not know where the bone pile came from (before she started there), but suspected it might be whale. Sure enough, it was a partial mandible of a baleen whale - who knows where from - could've been from Florida, NC, SC, Virginia, Maryland.

 

This does really underscore the value of field photography and well-maintained field notes!

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