This is a RARE AND LARGE natural grouping of fossil thoracic vertebrae from the same prehistoric toothed whale, a type of extinct beaked dolphin. They are still in their original matrix and positions as when the dolphin died, nearly 20 million years ago, during the days of the giant Megalodon shark. There are 7 complete vertebrae with their original dorsal and transverse processes, still intact. An 8th vertebra is shown as a partial centrum off to the left. We acquired this original fossil-bearing matrix block from a German private collection dating back to the 1970's and it was still mostly unprepared with most of the vertebrae covered. Because of this, the vertebrae were complete and very well preserved. RARELY do you ever find associated fossil bones of prehistoric dolphins of this type. All the bones are exposed and protrude dramatically up from the matrix surface, making for a fantastic display piece when elevated up on an easel stand (included).
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.
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.