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LARGE INTACT FOSSIL WHALE VERTEBRA FROM A MIOCENE / PLIOCENE PREHISTORIC TOOTHED WHALE

Undisclosed River - South Carolina, U.S.A.

MIOCENE TO PLIOCENE PERIOD:  23.3 - 1.81 million years ago

This is an uncommonly well-preserved, giant fossil whale vertebra from a prehistoric whale from the Miocene/ Pliocene Period.  Well-preserved fossil whale vertebrae are rare due to the fact that most were preyed upon by large sharks such as Megalodon and scavenged by smaller meat-eaters when they died in prehistory.  Furthermore, the porous nature of the bones makes them more susceptible to decomposition and disintegration over time, rather than fossilization.  Prehistoric whale bone fossils are most often found incomplete and fragmented, at best.  In most cases, when bones are found in groups, they are often accompanied by Megalodon teeth indicating they were an important food source for the massive Megalodon shark.  Large toothed whales like the Sperm whale were prime victims of the Megalodon shark.  The Sperm whale is and was the largest of all the toothed whales with males attaining lengths in excess of 60 feet.  The male Sperm whale is THE largest predator living in the sea today.  They are truly the kings of the ocean realm.  In prehistory during the Miocene / Pliocene periods, no marine animal grew larger than the Megalodon shark and certain toothed whales such as the Sperm Whale.

Large fossil whale vertebrae like this example are not common and are seldom found with such nice surface detail, a complete, intact centrum without the typical saltwater and marine life erosion and destruction.  This is a rare specimen in that it has a complete centrum and parts of bases of the transverse and dorsal processes.  The specimen came from a deposit rich in fossil shark teeth of several species including Megalodon and Great White sharks and this fact plus its deep brown hue that runs through the bone is a testament to its prehistoric origin.  Despite our operations being centered in the heart of "fossil diver country",  examples like this are scarce.  This fossil 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.  This specimen is far nicer than normally seen deserves a place in the finest fossil collection.  Visually impressive!  Intact with NO REPAIR and NO RESTORATION. 

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.  

SUPERB, RARE FOSSIL WHALE VERTEBRA FROM THE KING OF THE SEAS - TODAY'S LARGEST PREDATOR!

PERFECT TO DISPLAY WITH MEGALODON TEETH - WHALES WERE MEGALODON'S #1 FOOD SOURCE!

9.5" across x 6.25" high overall

SOLD     WH004     Actual Item - One Only

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