Return to Chile: Dispatch 9 - Pyenson Lab

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Dave Loshbaugh

Do you think this has anything to do with recent events , where several beached whales were found?
Perhaps this an event that has happened in the past, and were just discovering a "beached whale event".
Just a curious thought.
Dave L. Florida


Good suggestion, Dave. A fossil beaching event is one of several possibilities; check back in a few months. We hope to be able to say more after we publish the results of our work in a peer-reviewed journal.

Wayne Thompson


Just caught on to this story. Great find! Actually, that's an understatement. I'm looking forward to seeing how cetacean taxonomy becomes more refined due to this one site alone. We're so used to getting a rib here, a vertebra there, and holy cow a mandible or even a skull. But intact skeletons, and many of them! This is going to re-write and fill in so much of the story of eastern pacific whale evolution for decades to come. I do hope the Chilean government continues in its support of these efforts. Let me know if you need an extra skilled hand on-site and I'll catch the next flight!! Wayne


Thanks for the kind words, Wayne. I hope any Chileans reading this blog can feel proud of their nation's natural patrimony. Full protection of this site is definitely warranted, but unfortunately the current, exposed portion of it will be gone in a few more weeks once all of the fossils have been collected and removed from the site for MPC in Caldera. The only vestiges of what was exposed will be the bones at MPC and our archived, digital data, which we're excited to shared once we publish our findings in a peer-reviewed journal.

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