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This is a fossil of unknown origin, it was allegedly found burried in sand near the shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia; or possibly on the banks of the James River. The previous owner believed it to be an intervertebral disc of some kind of whale. It is clearly fossilized and has some areas encrusted with a sand like mineral. It also has a few spots where a shiny black mineral has been deposited. Can anyone provide an identification and possible an estimated age? 









Edited by 14a1881
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Welcome to the forum!


in order to get some sort of id we need many more pictures from as many angles as possible with a scale in inches or cm. 

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Possibly a cetecean vertebral epiphysis? 


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Yeah definitely a big ole whale cookie (epiphysis). If fossilized, I’d guess late miocene or early Pliocene in that area

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Definitely a cetacean vertebral epiphysis. Depending on where exactly along the James River and your or the previous owner's definition of "near", it is either from the Yorktown Formation of the Pliocene or the Eastover Formation of the late Miocene.  I've seen almost identical specimens come from both. The Pliocene - Miocene boundary occurred around 5.3 million years ago (MYA), give or take. The contact between the Yorktown and the Eastover Formations is known for big teeth and big cetacean bones in eastern VA and NE NC. Based on it's size and my frequent hunting along the same area, if I had to hazard a guess I would say some species of baleen whale from the Yorktown Formation along the James River. Though, there is the same exposure on the York River at York River State Park. 


I don't know how you would ID it to even a Genus level much less a species. Given you don't have any more info on the location, it's the same for a more accurate age I'm afraid.


Nice specimen. Be careful with it, they do break fairly easily.




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cant find many of these online so figuring from what I did find that stated that the 1-3 inch ones are rare to find whole then this one being as big as it is would be almost unheard of. Given that I would say its quite rare?

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32 minutes ago, hndmarshall said:

Given that I would say its quite rare?

I see a lot of them - too many for something that rare. (scarce maybe, but not rare.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

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