Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Platecarpus skull:shark bites and the rest

Things are finally moving out the door in preparation for the big Tucson gem and mineral show at the end of the month. I've been sidetracked for about a week on other projects (including getting a mosasur cast skeleton ready for shipment to Japan), but I've been able to throw a few hours here and there at the Platecarpus skull too.

Looking better but still not finished
As you know, it seems to be the largest specimen of Platecarpus planifrons ever recovered from Kansas, this coming from a student who has measured over 800 individuals. All parts are now assembled and there is just some restoration on teeth and the maxilla to complete before it gets paint on its restored parts.

It looks so happy!
An interesting thing about this specimen is that even though it was a pretty large critter (over 23 feet) it still ended up as a meal for a shark. The frontal, over the right eye, has the tips of 2 Cretoxyrhina teeth embedded in it, with gouges from several more. It also fits with scavenging behavior where shark bites on bones forward of the eye socket are rare, but pretty dang common towards the back of the skull, where all the meaty goodness of the jaw musculature is.

At least I hope that bite was after death. Otherwise it sure would hurt.

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