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MEGALODON SHARK BITTEN SET OF THREE LARGE MIOCENE FOSSIL WHALE VERTEBRAE ARTICULATED IN ORIGINAL MATRIX

West Coastal South America

MIOCENE to PLIOCENE PERIOD:  23.3 - 1.81 million years ago

For those of you who have been watching our listings for some time, you may recognize this piece.  We prepared the specimen about a year ago and had it on display in a portion of our gallery that was undergoing renovations.  In the course of the construction work, it became excessively dusty so we brought it back to our lab and initially, just intended to lightly clean it.  In the course of doing so, we discovered that a considerable layer of sediment and mineral concretion still coated the fossil bone and it necessitated a much better preparation effort than we initially gave it.  Much to our pleasure and amazement, we realized, as the layers of rock were being blasted away that the vertebra that had formerly visible cross-bites, the bites were much deeper than originally seen and were more numerous than initially known.  The real celebration though, came when we uncovered more of the mineral layer off of the vertebra laying next to the bitten one and saw that it had longitudinal bite marks more severe than the one next to it.  THESE newly uncovered bite marks were THE MOST SEVERE of any fossil shark bitten vertebrae we have ever seen.  The depth and length and width of the gashes in the bites could ONLY have been made by a very large MEGALODON shark! 

We completed the preparation work and this time, were more thorough in removing the formerly hard-to-see mineral layer that covered the bone surface.  The color beneath the rock that is in the bone is really beautiful and turned a very rare and interesting fossil into one that is even more beautiful in natural color.  Out of all the Megalodon bitten fossils we have seen, this is the ONLY specimen that shows multiple bones of the same killed prey with incredibly deep and dramatic bite wounds in the bone. 

As we photographed this specimen, shot after shot in the studio brought back that eerie memory of the intense scene in the film "Silence of the Lambs' where agent Starling, played by Jodie Foster, is attending her first real-life autopsy, examining her first 'Buffalo Bill" victim in the morgue.  As the photographer blazes away with flash after flash, she is rattling off rote descriptions of wound after wound for the record with a seemingly emotionless air yet, beneath it, it is obvious she has a conflict with the unfolding horror she is witnessing - the horrible, life-less evidence of the attack on Bill's victim.  The analysis of this specimen is one that offers a similar, eerie forensic story. 

As you look closely at the nature of these bite marks, you can make some interesting theories based on the evidence of the bites.  The one vertebra with the long bite gashes shows an initial impact bite in the center where the shark struck.  Whether this was inflicted when the whale was still alive or already dead is impossible to say.  Since sharks bite their prey, hold down, and then shake to saw off flesh, the bite gashes running along the axis of the centrum shows that the Megalodon struck from the side then bit and shook, hardest at first, and then to a lighter and lighter degree of repeat, successive bites, leaving multiple gashes running alongside each other and showing where the jaws opened and closed before and after each bite.  This newly revealed vertebra that we have not seen in the first lab procedures shows far more dramatic bite wounds than anticipated.  The additional re-cleaning of the other vertebra that we DID see first also revealed much deeper and more numerous bite wounds from the Megalodon but that vertebra has the bites running at a 90 degree perspective to the vertebra axis unlike the other.  This second vertebra with opposing axis bite wounds tells us that the whale carcass was already dead and dismembered to where the shark was eating portions of the torso in sections at their ends. 

Megalodon shark bitten fossils seldom offer this kind of insight and this is THE FIRST time we have witnessed a specimen like this for sale where you see a portion of multiple associate bitten and attacked whale vertebrae of the SAME whale.   Numerous Megalodon fossils are known to have come from the same area as this whale fossil.

With a ban on the digging and export of fossils from South America, specimens like this are rare if ever seen on the public market.  This spectacular partial skeleton fossil in concretion comes to us from a very old European collection.  It is the only specimen of its kind we have to offer.  We prepared this specimen and exposed the partial fossilized vertebral column of this giant whale that once lived millions of years ago with the fearsome Megalodon shark.  All three vertebrae are still positioned as they were found - two are still in line as they would have been when the animal was alive and a third is to the side as found.  This piece is very large and fully three dimensional with all vertebrae still connected with the original host rock.  The depth and width of these bites can be none other than the work of the giant Megalodon shark.  Megalodon shark fossils and fossils of its relatives can also be found in this same formation and region.  A specimen such as this is perfect to display alongside a Megalodon shark tooth collection as this creature would have shared the same waters and served as the main food source for the largest and most dangerous shark that ever lived, the MEGALODON shark. 

These vertebrae come from the lower region of the whale's spinal column.  None of the vertebrae have been removed and replaced in the matrix - these are still in the position as they were found.  We simply removed the matrix from around each vertebra.  The heavy orange deposits are iron mineral stuck on to the vertebrae.  One in particular appears to have been partially eaten on the surface and this iron mineral filled the region.  We left this on as it was found.  There is NO REPAIR AND NO RESTORATION OR COMPOSITING OF FOSSILS to this piece.  This is truly an impressive, large articulated whale skeleton fossil from the days of the Earth's largest and most dangerous sharks.  The Megalodon bites are severe and from a very large Megalodon shark millions of years ago.

Whales, dolphins and porpoises make up the group of air-breathing marine mammals called CETACEANS.  This group is comprised of three sub-groups - the extinct ARCHAEOCETI, and two living types, the ODONTOCETI (toothed whales) and MYSTICETI (baleen whales).  All have a body structure that is highly adapted for their marine environment.  These features include paddle-like forelimbs, lack of external hind limbs, large tail for propulsion underwater, dorsally located nostrils for breathing just above the surface of the water, specialized ears for underwater hearing and a streamlined body profile for efficient hydrodynamic locomotion.  Odontocetes are more prevalent and varied than Mysticetes.  All of the smaller current living whales (porpoises, orcas, narwhals, pilots, etc.) and a few of the larger ones (Sperm Whale) are toothed (Odontocetes).  Mysticetes include the largest animal that ever lived on the earth, the Blue Whale.   

All cetaceans are carnivorous with a main diet consisting of fish, invertebrates and other marine mammals.  Many cetacean fossils are found in sediments alongside fossil shark teeth and other marine vertebrates but whale fossils are much less common compared to other marine vertebrate fossils of the same period and region and whale fossils are often found in fragments or show evidence of predation by prehistoric sharks, no doubt, cetaceans most feared enemy in their prehistoric past.  

VERTEBRATE FOSSILS FROM SOUTH AMERICA ARE NOW PROTECTED AND MOSTLY ABSENT FROM PRIVATE COLLECTIONS - RARE!

A LARGE MEGALODON-BITTEN WHALE FOSSIL SPECIMEN WITH MULTIPLE ASSOCIATED VERTEBRA SHOWING MULTIPLE WOUNDS IS ULTRA-RARE!

15" x 12" overall on original matrix

SOLD     MV21-024     Actual Item - One Only

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